Transnational city networks, global political economy, and climate governance: C40 in Mexico and Lima

JM Leal, M Paterson

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Most research on transnational city networks on climate change focuses on how they form part of a reorganization of the character of global politics away from state-centric forms of governance towards either multilevel, transnational and/or ‘polycentric’ governance. Consistent with these broad approaches to global (climate) governance, work specifically on city networks focuses on their abilities to generate coordination, learning and experimentation across and within cities regarding climate change. This article argues that analyzing these networks within political economy frameworks generates different but important additional insights. Drawing on the analysis of two cities in Latin America—Mexico City and Lima—within the C40 network, the article argues that C40 promotes particular forms of investment in its member cities, pursuing the interests of transnational capital and assembling combinations of actors to generate this effect. While such a dynamic within C40 may promote decarbonization, it nevertheless skews the process of responding to climate change in those cities. It does so by coercing those cities to prioritize climate mitigation rather than adaptation, over-riding local preferences, and, ignoring local expertise. As a result, C40 undermines the capacity for such cities to generate their own solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalReview of International Political Economy
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2023


  • International Political Economy
  • Latin America
  • Transnational Capitalist Class
  • Transnational governance
  • City networks
  • Climate governance


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