Over 1,000 U.S. municipalities have formally committed to reduce their local greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through participation in one of several climate protection networks. This has attracted the attention of researchers interested in theories of free-riding and local political decision making who question why municipalities become engaged in this global effort. However, whereas joining a climate protection network or adopting an emissions reduction goal are relatively low cost acts, the implementation of such policies entails higher costs. This raises legitimate questions about the extent and type of follow-through made on municipal climate protection commitments. This paper begins to fill-in the data gap around municipal climate protection initiatives and constructs an index that quantifies the GHG-reduction policies implemented by local governments. Data informing the index is collected on municipalities in the U.S. state of Indiana and is used to test theories of local political decision making. Findings point to the important role policy entrepreneurs play in advancing local climate protection as well as to the potential inadequacy of membership in climate protection organizations as an indicator of increased implementation of GHG-reducing activities.
- Municipal climate protection index,
- policy implementation
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/rachel_krause/6/