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Open AccessArticle

Communicating Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Efforts in American Cities

by Constantine Boussalis 1,†, Travis G. Coan 2,*,†,‡ and Mirya R. Holman 3,†
Department of Political Science, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin D2, Ireland
Department of Politics, University of Exeter and the Exeter Q-Step Centre, Exeter EX4 4RJ, UK
Department of Political Science, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Current address: University of Exeter, Clayden Building, Exeter EX4 4PE, UK.
Climate 2019, 7(3), 45;
Received: 25 February 2019 / Revised: 13 March 2019 / Accepted: 16 March 2019 / Published: 24 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change Resilience and Urban Sustainability)
City governments have a large role to play in climate change mitigation and adaptation policies, given that urban locales are responsible for disproportionately high levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and are on the “front lines” of observed and anticipated climate change impacts. This study examines how US mayors prioritize climate policies within the context of the city agenda. Employing a computer-assisted content analysis of over 2886 mayoral press releases related to climate change from 82 major American cities for the period 2010–2016, we describe and explain the extent to which city governments discuss mitigation and adaptation policies in official communications. Specifically, we rely on a semi-supervised topic model to measure key climate policy themes in city press releases and examine their correlates using a multilevel statistical model. Our results suggest that while mitigation policies tend to dominate the city agenda on climate policy, discussion of adaptation efforts has risen dramatically in the past few years. Further, our statistical analysis indicates that partisanship influences city discussion on a range of climate policy areas—including emissions, land use policy, and climate resiliency—while projected vulnerability to climatic risks only influences discussion of climate resiliency and adaptation efforts. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change policy; political communication; urban politics; agenda-setting; text analysis; semi-supervised topic model climate change policy; political communication; urban politics; agenda-setting; text analysis; semi-supervised topic model
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Boussalis, C.; Coan, T.G.; Holman, M.R. Communicating Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Efforts in American Cities. Climate 2019, 7, 45.

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