Assessment Framework: Policy and Plan

The assessment Framework includes a total of 34 action areas organized into 6 categories (agenda setting/strategies, policy/plan formulation, implementation, feedback/evaluation, dissemination, GHG emissions). The Assessment Framework tries to represent climate-related actions undertaken at any given moment by a local government (LG) as either incremental, transitional or transformative. Zooming out to the level of the assessment categories allows the user to assess, along thematic lines, where (and how) things are changing in local government GHG emissions, policy, planning or operations. Assessment categories reflect local government mandates to undertake strategic plans, regulate and operate internally. The assessment criteria have been informed by key concepts embedded in social practice theories, multi-level perspective, and socio-ecological systems thinking.

Click on the Assessment column to read more about each one. Bolded titles refer to the 6 categories, while the numbered headings refer to areas where local governments can engage in climate action. Note that there are four tables in total, with the first three showing one category per table, and the last grouping together 3 categories.

Local Government Climate Action Assessment Framework
Action Areas Incremental Actions Reformative Actions Transformative Actions
Policy and Plan Formulation

1. GHG accounting and inventories

Non-standardized emissions accounting method used; irregular updates (if any) to inventory Standard accounting method used; comparability possible; regular updates performed, but data highly aggregated impairing policy evaluation; price put on corporate carbon emissions of (up to) $25/t Standard method used; inventory updated (easily) annually; data highly disaggregated; policy evaluation possible; price put on corporate carbon emissions of (up to) $75/t

2. Community engagement

Limited set of stakeholder groups consulted; consultation rather one-way in nature Active, two-way communication; variety of engagement tools used to access general public; prime focus is on traditional stakeholder groups Two-way learning; active engagement with broad spectrum of community stakeholders; range of tools, rules, and access ways build trust in process

3. Science-policy capacity

Limited access to relevant climate science, hence, diminished policy formulation capacity Access to expertise and know-how uneven across LG with respect to quality and quantity; results in uneven departmental policy development capacity. Climate science related clear and disseminated widely across LG; functional links between policy- and decision-makers and knowledge producers (academia / experts)

4. Direct and indirect costs/benefits

Focus on near-term direct costs / benefits, and an uncertain stream of future costs / benefits; paying today more expensive than paying tomorrow. Indirect (co-) benefits (e.g. Public health, energy security) considered in policy formulation and evaluation. Policy based on accounting standards and indicators that considers broad range of near and short term benefits of strong climate action today, and quantifying the co-benefits.

5. Climate policy networks

Little value seen in engaging with national or transnational climate research networks. Passive engagement / participation with national / transnational networks; limited encounters with best practice and diminished dissemination capacity; member of FCM PCP (at or below level 3). Active engagement with networks and social learning; adopting (experimenting with) and developing (sharing) best practice; member of FCM PCP (level 5 achieved) and other int'l networks (C40, UCLG, etc.)

6. Policy congruence and alignment

Misaligned gov't policy results in unclear vision 'mal-adaptation' or 'mal-mitigation' LG aware of conflicts and trying to mitigate same through strategic partnerships and collaboration with gov't at all levels. Aligned incentives between gov't levels and across sectoral policy areas; mandatory regulatory impact assessment to include climate change considerations.

7. Integrated planning framework

No integrated planning framework; planning underpinned by growth assumptions and free-market mechanisms. Climate / environmental goals incorporated into OCP only; sectoral plans (e.g. waste, land-use, transport, water) non-integrated. Climate, land-use, transport, water and waste plans and actions integrated and fundamentally congruent/consistent, supported by a regulatory framework.

8. Planning horizon

Focus on short-term (i.e. 5 yr), with aspirational attention paid to time periods beyond 10 years. Long-term climate targets set, yet plans are clear only on actions within 2-5 year period. Plans contain concurrent and sequential actions, with regular monitoring / reporting / updating requirements, throughout duration of plan.

9. Climate Action

Short-term; focus on low-hanging fruit and quick returns; not joined up. Short- and medium-term but preference for short-term actions; actions taken strongly linked to governmentt funding that arises. Actions taken according to priority and strategic sequencing; government funding synergistic vs distracting; experimentation encouraged.

10. Jurisdiction

LG lacks jurisdiction over matters that determine their GHG emissions; legal authority resides with higher levels of gov't. Devolution of authority to LG without matching funding, revenue generating abilities, or sufficient capacity to permit strategic action. Decision-making powers and financial controls at the LG level in key policy areas in place; LG spheres of influence well aligned with climate areas requiring action.

Previous table: Agenda Setting and Strategy | Next table: Implementation

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