A recent study published in the journal "Ecological Economics" analysed the support of Italian citizens for climate action at local level, in particular climate mitigation, by using the Italian signatories of the European Covenant of Mayors as a focal point.
The scientific study "Do Voters Support Local Commitments for Climate Change Mitigation in Italy?" revealed that Italian mayors that have committed to reduce CO2 emissions in their municipality in the framework of the European Covenant appear not to lose electoral support at subsequent local elections. On the contrary, the authors of the study found that citizens slightly reward the climate action commitment of their mayors when going to the ballot box. The study used Italian electoral data from the period 2009-2013 to reach its conclusions.
Furthermore, Italian municipalities with a higher share of young people and a solid economy tend to support membership in the European Covenant of Mayors more than in Italian local authorities with a higher degree of elderly population and difficult economic circumstances. This result underlines the need for engaging in more social and just climate and energy policies in order to harness public support for tackling climate change and catalysing the clean energy transition at local level.
This study will hopefully encourage more local authorities across Europe to take climate and energy action through initiatives such as the European Covenant of Mayors, and reinforce the socio-economic dimension of local climate and energy policies.