Recovering the city level in the global environmental struggle

Going beyond carbon trading

Authored by: Saskia Sassen

Routledge International Handbook of Social and Environmental Change

Print publication date:  October  2013
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415782791
eBook ISBN: 9780203814550
Adobe ISBN: 9781136707995


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Opening up to the city level in existing formal governance framings carries significant implications. It can help overcome the narrow nationalisms of inter-state negotiated agreements. Large complex cities share far more with other cities across the world in terms of challenges and the resources they need than they share with the rest of the areas within their national states. Cities share a specific position in a multi-scalar global governance system. The ongoing elaboration of the European Union has brought this issue to the fore, notably in the need for subsidiarity regimes that go from the European to the local level. Given this transnational affinity among cities when it comes to challenges and needed resources, bringing the city level into global regimes might be one of the most effective ways of achieving protection without national protectionism.

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