Local climate change capacity: comparing four municipalities in the Dutch Twente region

Arjen van der Vegt, Thomas Hoppe, Peter Stegmaier

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Climate change is seen as a key societal challenge to cities and regions. City governments design and implement policies to cope with climate change: on the one hand by mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and spurring low carbon transition; on the other hand by adapting to climate change, hence increasing resilience to extreme weather events. A precondition to successful climate change policy implementation is a sufficient degree of local capacity. In this paper we address how cities have manifested local capacities vis-à-vis climate change. The main question is: What does local climate change capacity mean in local governments when addressing both adaptation and mitigation? The research design concerns a comparative case study design of four municipalities in the Dutch Twente region. Four municipalities (two urban and two rural municipalities) were analysed. Data collection involved close examination of municipal programs and climate action plans, and also a set of twelve face-to-face interviews (three per municipality). Data were treated and analysed using Atlas.ti to allow for inter-municipal comparison. Results show that the four municipalities in general lack sufficient budgets for climate change policy. There is also a general lack of balance between climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation in local action plans. Moreover, only one out of four municipalities had a solid climate change action plan. This also holds for commitment to climate change goals, where a variation was found between municipalities. This appears not be related to any background determinants such as municipal size. Support of low carbon citizen initiatives appears to be low in the four investigated municipalities, except for the case of the municipality of Hof van Twente. Recently, the two urban municipalities (Hengelo and Enschede) have become aligned with a climate change adaptation network initiative, called ‘climate active city’. Finally, we found that there was networked collaboration between municipalities via a forum in which local climate change coordinators meet on frequent basis. The results contribute to a growing body of literature on climate change capacity and policy in cities and regions (cf. Kern and Bulkeley, 2009; Bulkeley, 2013; Bulkeley et al., 2013; Hoppe et al., 2014; Hoppe and Van Bueren, 2015).
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2015
EventAnnual NIG Work Conference 2015 - Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands
Duration: 5 Nov 20156 Nov 2015
Conference number: 12


ConferenceAnnual NIG Work Conference 2015
Other05-11-2015 - 06-11-2015


  • IR-97905
  • METIS-312835


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