Ágnes Óvári, András Donát Kovács, Jenő Zsolt Farkas
Urban Climate, Volume 49, May 2023
Weak participatory planning and missing familiarity of LCSs by the public.
Mandated planning of LCSs has a negative effect on the completed strategies.
Climate change planning and actions depends unilaterally on EU funding.
Local climate consciousness and planning complexity do not depend on city size.
Effective climate action requires greater decision-making autonomy at local level.
Climate change is a critical challenge for cities, so urban communities are increasingly responsible for climate protection. Hungarian cities started thinking and acting to reduce their GHG emission and carbon footprint in the late 2000s. Thanks to the increasing focus on environmental issues and the European Green Deal, this process received a new impulse after 2018. In our research, we analyzed and compared the local climate strategies (LCSs) of 14 cities by scoring method to explore their goals and planned actions. In addition, we assessed the commitment of local governments and conducted 16 semi-structured interviews with city officials and experts to further highlight the challenges of climate protection. Findings reveal that the mandated climate planning process and the dependence on EU funds negatively impact the quality of the LCSs, with features and practices such as reverse mainstreaming and minimal room for maneuvering to make efficient climate actions at the local level. The common features of LCSs are the high degree of uniformity, the lack of local innovation, and in many cases, the lack of accurate detail that makes it doubtful that they can adequately fulfill their intended role. Instead, they create the possibility of drawing financial resources from the EU.
Keywords: Cities and climate change, Local climate strategy, Mandated climate planning, Urban planning, City ranking, Hungary