Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Government and International Affairs

Major Professor

Mark Amen, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Steven Tauber, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Peter Funke, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Corina McKendry, Ph.D.


Cities, Constructivism, Decarbonization, GHG Inventory, Norm Diffusion, Transnational Municipal Networks


In this research, I analyze how Transnational Municipal Networks (TMNs) and cities affect the diffusion and transmission of a decarbonization norm. Urban policy and political science scholars assert that cities and their networks are influential in implementing internationally coordinated environmental policy. However, few projects have analyzed how local actors may diffuse environmental norms that have been developed in the international system. Using the norm life cycle, this research explores the transmission of a decarbonization norm by means of GHG measurement and mitigation. I identify two critical objectives associated with a decarbonization norm: establishing a system for monitoring GHG emissions and developing action plans to reduce emissions. These two components of decarbonization are also viewed as indicators of norm leadership, which applies to all levels of governance. The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) is a transnational municipal network (TMN) that facilitates networking between cities, communication between the transnational and local levels, and the development of local responses to climate change. To analyze the influence of ICLEI on the local environmental policy of cities, I used a logistic regression analysis to explore three time periods (1991-2002, 2003-2010, and 2011-2018). The findings of the analysis support my hypothesis that both cities and their networks play a significant role in the diffusion of a decarbonization norm. TMNs, like ICLEI, supply technical assistance that guides policy and provides a platform for local leaders to act transnationally. Cities are more likely to adopt decarbonization objectives if they obtain ICLEI services or membership. Furthermore, through the results of my analysis, I provide evidence that cities in the United States and Canada acted first as norm entrepreneurs, and then as norm leaders by creating systems for monitoring and mitigating GHG emissions.