Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Transnational Municipal Climate Networks and the Politics of Standardisation: The Contested Role of Climate Data in the New Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy

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Abstract:  This article analyses the formation of a new global network, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM), by two existing initiatives, the EU-based Covenant of Mayors and the UN-supported Compact of Mayors. While this merger of two transnational networks provides evidence for the increased coordination and standardisation of transnational municipal climate action, this remains a contentious and incomplete process. The article identifies different modes of transnational climate governance that have contributed to conflict between the founding networks and zooms in on the role of municipal climate data. Using empirical evidence, it analyses the contested politics of municipal climate data, including the role of the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC) as a standard tool, the definition of a common target, and the inclusion of financial actors. Concerns over the reshaping of public-private boundaries and the possible commodification of public data are identified as major obstacles for the (EU) Covenant of Mayors, which consequentially seeks to remain as independent as possible within the new GCoM. Data politics emerges as a crucial factor for the future direction of transnational municipal climate policy and the ongoing processes of standardisation and coordination.

Keywords:  cities and climate change; Compact of Mayors; Covenant of Mayors; Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy; Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories; multi-level governance; municipal climate data



© Friederike Gesing. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.