Publication Details

Dowling, R., McGuirk, P. & Bulkeley, H. (2013). Governing carbon in the Australian city: Local government responses. In K. Ruming, B. Randolph & N. Gurran (Eds.), State of Australian Cities Conference 2013: Refereed Proceedings (pp. 1-12). State of Australian Cities Research Network.


Mitigating and adapting to future changes in climate in the context of urban growth has focused the attention of Australian governments, planners, business and community interests alike. In this landscape we see a proliferation of frameworks and initiative s for governing carbon, from Australian state and local governments as well as a wide array of other actors including the private and not-for-profit sectors. Currently no clear picture of their architecture or workings exists. In this paper we use urban local governments - a central actor in these frameworks - as an entry point. Drawing on recent research aimed to document urban carbon governance across Australia's capital cities - in particular, an audit of carbon reduction initiatives across government, business and community actors at the urban scale - we explore urban local governments as sites of climate change response and experimentation. Our analysis reveals the existence of both conventional and experimental actions - assessment techniques, technologies of go vernance and forms of social organization - operating at local and extra-local scales. Moreover, the networks assembled to produce this climate governance capacity involve similarly conventional and experimental actors, practices and scales. This complex amalgam of conventional and experimental, we suggest, will shape Australian city futures.