ELLA Guide: City-level Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

ELLA is the Evidence and Lessons from Latin America programme


Latin American cities are under increasing pressure from rapid urbanisation, while current impacts and potential threats from climate change are further exposing municipal vulnerabilities. City planners are responding to these twin pressures with innovations in climate-related policies and are making big strides in terms of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Key Lessons:

  • Cities account for the majority of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions (75%) and municipal leaders have authority over many of the sectors that produce these emissions (75% on average), making widespread urban-level mitigation measures a superb opportunity to tackle global climate change, while simultaneously improving local quality of life.
  • Municipal leaders in Latin America are working to capture these opportunities through city-level actions and commitments, as participants in networks of similarly climate-concerned cities, as signatories of inter-municipal agreements, and as partners with international NGOs.
  • Even if the world quickly transitions to a low-carbon economy, our societies will still face the impacts of climate change set in motion from past decades of emissions, however the costs of future adaptation measures are dramatically reduced by current mitigation initiatives. This perspective is reflected in the comprehensive municipal climate action plans of Quito, Rio de Janeiro and Mexico City.


ELLA. ELLA Guide: City-level Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation. ELLA, Practical Action Consulting, Lima, Peru (2013) 16 pp.

Published 1 January 2013