Climate Mitigation in the Mediterranean Europe: An Assessment of Regional and City-Level Plans


In Europe, regions in the Mediterranean area share common characteristics in terms of high sensitivity to climate change impacts. Does this translate into specificities regarding climate action that could arise from these Mediterranean characteristics? This paper sheds light on regional and local climate mitigation actions of the Mediterranean Europe, focusing on the plans to reduce greenhouse gases emissions in a representative sample of 51 regions and 73 cities across 9 Mediterranean countries (Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain). The study investigates: (i) the availability of local and regional mitigation plans, (ii) their goals in term of greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets on the short and medium-long term, and (iii) the impact of transnational climate networks on such local and regional climate mitigation planning. Results of this study indicate an uneven and fragmented planning, that shows a Mediterranean West-East divide, and a link with population size. However, overall, both regional and city action seem insufficiently ambitious with regards to meeting the Paris Agreement, at least at city level. While national frameworks are currently weak in influencing regional and local actions, transnational networks seem to be engaging factors for commitment (at city level) and ambitiousness (at regional level). The uneven and fragmented progress revealed by this study, does not align with the characteristics shared by investigated regions and cities in terms of environmental, socio-political, climatic and economic conditions. The results support the call of a common green deal at the Mediterranean level to further address specific Mediterranean challenges and related needs. This will allow to capitalise on available resources, generate local-specific knowledge, build capacities, and support Mediterranean regions and cities in preparing the next generation of more ambitious mitigation plans.

Journal of Environmental Management