Abstract

Cities are increasingly seen as essential components of the global response to climate change: setting targets, taking action, and rendering themselves accountable to global audiences for their efforts. Why cities are making themselves globally accountable in the absence of compulsion or obligation, and what it means for cities to operate simultaneously as global and locally accountable actors, constitute important puzzles for scholars of global climate politics. In this article I set out the basic parameters of this phenomenon, and offer a conceptual framework with which to parse the politics of accountability in networked urban climate governance. I apply this framework to identify three distinct forms of accountability present in the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group: an external politics of recognition; a network politics of ordering, and; an internal politics of translation. The article explores each for their distinct political processes, orientation, and power dynamics, and offers some propositions with respect to how they interact, and what it means both locally and globally when cities make themselves globally accountable.