Forum of Federations 20th Anniversary: Climate Change

It is widely recognized by policy-makers and scholars that climate change is a problem of multi-scale and multi-level governance. Greenhouse gas emissions result from actions taken at the global, regional, local and individual levels. Furthermore, the impacts of climate change affect ecological processes, ecosystems, and populations at and across a diversity of scales and boundaries. As such, an effective response to the climate crisis involves multiple actors, and this approach is explicitly enshrined in the 2015 Paris Agreement, which recognizes that provinces, states, and municipalities have a critical role to play in contributing to the realization of climate mitigation and adaptation objectives.

Federal and decentralized governance is likely to play a central role in addressing the climate crisis around the world. The majority of the largest emitters are either federations or countries with decentralized governance systems. The successful realization of the world’s climate mitigation objectives in these countries thus depends, in large part, on whether and how governments within federal and decentralized countries can cooperate to reduce carbon emissions and catalyze the emergence of low-carbon societies. In addition, as the emerging and likely consequences of a changing climate become increasingly apparent, governments at different levels need to step up their efforts on adapting to climate change.

A unique feature of responding to climate change in the context of a federation is that policy-making over environmental matters may be shared between, and require the engagement of, governments at the federal and subnational levels. This webinar will address the questions of what challenges of intergovernmental cooperation and coordination the multilevel governance systems face when designing and implementing climate change policies, and how they are addressed by respective governments.


Moderator: Sebastien Jodoin
Canada Research Chair in Human Rights, Health, and the Environment and Assistant Professor in the McGill University Faculty of Law, Canada

Jean-François Gibeault
Sous-ministre adjoint au Bureau d’électrification et de changements climatiques, Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, Gouvernement du Québec

Muluneh G. Hedeto
Senior Technical Advisor, Commission of Climate Change, Forest and Environment, Government of Ethiopia

Kathryn Harrison
Professor of Political Science, University of British Columbia, Canada

Georg Milbradt
Former Minister-President of the Federal Free State of Saxony, Germany

Joana Setzer
Assistant Professorial Research Fellow, the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics, United Kingdom

Nidhi Srivastava
Independent Law and Policy Consultant specializing in environmental governance and resource federalism, New Delhi, India