Climate change is the biggest global threat of our time. As a signatory nation of the Paris Agreement, Brazil has made a climate action commitment, and expressed its nationally determined contribution to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 37%. The Brazilian population is highly urban, and Brazilian cities are mostly responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, and the worst effects of global warming are experienced in cities. Hence, the fulfillment of the Brazilian climate commitments depends on the active engagement of municipalities. Nevertheless, the Brazilian national government does not monitor local climate actions, and it is not clear how local urban policy is aligned with climate action. In order to bridge this gap, this study tackles the question of: “Are, and if yes how, cities considering the climate emergency in their local planning mechanisms?” This question is investigated by placing five major Brazilian cities under the microscope. The methodological approach includes literature review and applied qualitative analysis to scrutinize how climate issues and actions are factored in urban planning regulations to verify if and to what extent local policies contribute to the fulfillment of the Brazilian nationally determined contribution, and sustainable development goals. The results disclose that investigated cities have adequately incorporated climatic issues in their urban planning mechanisms. However, policy concentrates more on adaptation rather than mitigation, and policy implementation yet to be realized.
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