The Spaces in Between: A Comparative Analysis of Municipal Climate Governance and Action

28 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2011

See all articles by Pamela Robinson

Pamela Robinson

Ryerson University

Christopher Gore

Ryerson University - Politics and Public Administration

Date Written: September 2, 2011


Ongoing efforts by local governments to mitigate (reduce) greenhouse gases are often tracked through a reporting or milestone process. In Canada, a new and similar milestone process is being developed for climate adaptation activities. Yet research into Canadian local government response reveals that activities and actions are underway which the milestone process neither identifies nor tracks. Local climate action milestones tell us what is happening and when actions are completed at the local level, but little about who is driving action, the process of implementation, and the barriers to implementing actions. This paper asks whether the milestone process accurately reflects the range of climate activities municipal governments in Canada are undertaking and the implications for climate action and governance if there is a disconnect between the milestones commonly used to measure progress and the reality of municipal action. Based on preliminary results from a national survey of municipal governments in Canada, the paper reveals that Canadian municipal governments are engaged in many invisible climate activities and processes that common inventories and reporting systems do not capture. The paper suggests that these ‘interstitial activities’ – these invisible climate actions that take place between initiation and completion – are very important to understand as they have meaningful implications for future climate action and governance.

Suggested Citation

Robinson, Pamela and Gore, Christopher, The Spaces in Between: A Comparative Analysis of Municipal Climate Governance and Action (September 2, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Pamela Robinson

Ryerson University ( email )

350 Victoria Street
Toronto, Ontario M5B 2K3

Christopher Gore (Contact Author)

Ryerson University - Politics and Public Administration ( email )

350 Victoria St.
Toronto, Ontario M5B2K3
416-979-5000 x2703 (Phone)

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