Assessment Framework: Implementation

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

1. Corporate climate actions

LG undertakes corp. building retrofits, recycling, H20 conservation, and participation in Earth Hour, Car-Free Day, Bike to Work Week. Signed Prov'l Climate Action Charter and buying market offsets. Corporate green fleet, van-p/car-pooling, solar panels, green roofs, building retrofit projects and renewable energies. Going toward C-neutrality via carbon fund and internal emission reduction projects. Restorative/passive new civic buildings, comprehensive retrofit program, E-fleet and 3rd party car-sharing services; Carbon fund in place; C-neutral via internal projects; 100% renewables target of 2030.

2. Partnerships, strategic alliances

Partnerships limited to existing regional cooperation models over issues like water and waste management. LG engaged in partnerships with other levels of gov't, civil society or business to advance strategic climate action. LG actively engaged in partnership models to take concrete climate actions and deliver more climate-friendly core services.

3. Local government controlled service delivery

LG undertakes traditional delivery of water, waste and other infrastructure services without special regard for climate imperatives. LG working to raise awareness of climate-friendly ways in which residents can engage with local services (e.g. Water conservation, waste recycling, organics recycling, energy efficiency). LG expands its role to enable delivery of a climate-friendly service (e.g. E-efficiency housing, bicycle-sharing network, district enery based on renewables) to residents.

4. Rule making - Local Government climate regulations

Handful of opt-in programmes offered to residents and businesses (e.g. Sustainability checklist, bldg energy labelling, solar-ready, etc.). 'Stretch' code embraced, E-efficiency req'mts in DPA's, min energy performance criteria for new zonings; green building / sustainability checklist mandatory for all new bldg permits. LG flexibility / autonomy over bldg codes; net-positive bldgs and passive house for new / existing houses; mixed use zoning, compact and transit-oriented development.

5. Experimentation / innovation

Encouraged within traditional business and technological arenas, but less so in climate domain. Permits experimentation (in and outside of LG) on climate-friendly policies, practices and technologies, and advertises this modestly; modest to no financial incentives. LG incentivizing, promoting & underwriting climate experimentation through partnerships; champions / protects niche experiments; disseminates successes.

6. Institutional arrangements

Conflicting deptartmental priorities, incentives; single environment department responsible for climate issues; climate not considered beyond env't dept; lack of structures to coordinate multiple internal dept's Central coordinating group responsible for climate action across all dept's and for mainstreaming climate goals; or climate group within each climate-relevant dept Department structures are aligned and mandates reflecting LG climate change areas, principles and priorities are embedded through the LG.

7. Institutional capacity

Uneven; climate issues the pervue of sustainability folks. Limited internal expertise exists; little to no budget for external expertise; full-time Sustainability or Energy Manager in place (# staff linked to size of community); no clear climate mandate for climate-relevant dept's. Climate policy capacity evenly distributed across LG dept's; climate/sustainability goals embedded in all dept plans; climate action steering group ensures climate/sustainability goals adhered to.

8. Horizontal linkages

LG has few formal relations with sectoral organizations or agencies (e.g. BC Hydro, FortisBC, BCUC) that could help with policy implementation. LG engaged in formal partnerships with sectoral actors (govt'l, Crown Corp's and non-govt'l) to enhance policy formulation / implementation; lessons learned / best practice being shared via partners. LG well embedded in formal / non-formal sectoral partnership network and climate policies are jointly formulated and implemented via this network. Social learning occurring.

9. Financial support

LG budget for climate action not part of LG base tax funding; funding from higher levels of gov't sporadic and often unaligned with LG priorities; LG tends to act when gov't funds become available. Limited budget available (to leverage external climate funds) for climate initiatives in climate-relevant dept's; LG very sensitive to provincial / federal funding, but this is rarely aligned with LG goals. Climate action' is line item in all dept'l base budgets and budgets for outside climate expertise available. Senior gov't funding programs aligned with each other and with LG needs and vice versa.

10. Vertical policy support

Senior government policy framework is missing or misaligned with LG priorities; senior gov't policy related to energy generation and supply contradicts local climate priorities. Policy frameworks at prov'l and federal levels incomplete; incentives rarely align due to jurisdictional conflicts, funding cycles. LG climate policies able to exist, but not thrive. Appropriate devolution of authority with stable funding / capacity; an enabling policy framework exists resulting in linked up policy across all levels of government; two-way learning possible.

Previous table: Policy and Plan Formulation | Next table: Feedback and Evaluation, Dissemination, and GHG Emission Reductions

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