Mikael Granberg, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden

Presentation Title: Local government, climate change and public-private interaction: The case of Orebro, Sweden




This study takes a close look at how climate change impacts policy practices in local governments. The political arguments and actual local government action are focused on in two cases, where the city´s local government interacts with other societal actors (business and citizens) in efforts to create local/regional markets within two socio-technical systems (energy and transport). Consideration is given as to whether this is a functional way to facilitate low carbon transitions within socio-technical systems as well as how these endeavors are perceived by political actors (majority and opposition) and if any conflicting interests in the choice of market pathway can be observed in urban political processes.


Key Lessons Learned

Urban policy and practice is central to connecting global standards and knowledge, and national and regional climate change scenarios into particular action in specific contexts. Cities can and perhaps need to be forerunners in climate change policy and practice, which means that researchers can examine cities and local governments to increase understanding of policy practices guiding adaption and mitigation to climate change.


Policy/Practice Implications of Research

  • Budgets should include life cycle cost calculations in investments. A focus on department budgeting (fiscal responsibility) can lead to short-term savings (within budgets) instead of promoting long-term investments with greater, both monetary and environmental, payoffs.
  • Different business models often result in multiple data and measurements, which become confusing and ultimately near impossible for planning departments to use. This can lead to a fragmented policy agenda.
  • The municipality and other local actors need the support of policy/regulation/legislation/resource allocation from higher levels of government i.e., the national and international level, in order to be successful especially 'weaker' municipalities.


Knowledge Gaps and Needs

  • More needs to be known about conflicting policy objectives (e.g., how does climate change issues interact with other prioritized issues on the policy agenda?), in order to grasp if, how and why city and local governments perceive and can prioritize policies connected to climate change.
  • The issue of path dependency as both a resource and a hindrance to climate action needs to be explored further. Issues to be focused on include:
    • Institutionalized governance, administration and policy (are new public management and marketization helpful?);
    • market solutions and 'green' growth (ecological modernization);
    • infrastructure and large-scale technological systems; and,
    • lifestyles.