UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Re-(de)politicizing carbon : climate governance in urban Vancouver Yang, Sherry


Urban governments across the globe are reimagining and reasserting their roles and responsibilities in climate action by creating new policy and institutional spaces for tackling this wicked problem. The emerging role of the city in climate action has been a subject of policy and governance studies. The field benefits from in-depth inquiry on not only what climate measures are developed, but how they materialize. This study extends these questions to the case study of the Vancouver region. More recently, municipalities in the region are responding to the global call for climate mitigation by taking on new, ambitious reduction goals. Drawing on approaches of critical policy studies and discourse analysis, this study examines how climate and carbon are made governable in a post-political urban setting. The study considers the discursive elements of the policy process, the agency of policy practitioners, the spaces and networks they occupy and influence, as well as the logics and expert technologies they use to mobilize policy. This research highlights the importance of both formal and informal social norms in urban policy processes. This study finds that despite what appears to be their bold aspirations to drastically reduce carbon emissions, policy actors are constrained by path-dependent governing logics, territorial politics and power relations embedded in the dominant sociopolitical and economic regime. Climate actions are also driven by particular rationalities and storylines which sustain climate as a depoliticized and technocratic policy matter, thus producing a set of techno-managerial responses while precluding others.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International