Bottom–up monitoring of municipal energy and climate policy: more than an alternative to top–down approaches?
Policy evaluation is widely considered important for assessing policies for effectiveness and impact. Municipalities are among the political actors implementing energy and climate policy. Yet, few municipalities have introduced adequate instruments to monitor the effectiveness of their actions. Often, municipal actors consider local greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories to be sufficient to monitor the impact of their actions. This paper points out why the expectations placed on local GHG inventories as a monitoring instrument can rarely be met in practice. On the basis of German examples, it shall be shown that a thorough calculation of actual local energy and GHG reductions attributable to local efforts is often only partially possible, and is complicated by external factors. A supplementary approach to the top–down method is to evaluate local programmes from the bottom–up. This paper discusses efforts to develop an instrument for a bottom–up monitoring of the city of Hamburg's Climate Action Plan.
Keywords: municipal policy, climate policy, energy policy, climate action plan, greenhouse gases, GHG inventory, policy evaluation, top–down monitoring, bottom–up monitoring, Germany, policy evaluation, local policies, climate change