In recent years, many cities have joined transnational municipal climate networks (TMCNs), which were set up in response to climate change. Despite the fact that some of these TMCNs have been active for more than two decades, there has been no systematic investigation of the networks' impact on local climate governance. In this article we attempt to answer if and how local climate governance has been influenced by municipalities' memberships in TMCNs. Our assessment is based on an online survey conducted with staff from all German cities above 50,000 inhabitants with membership in TMCNs, fieldwork and interviews in seven German cities. Network membership mainly influences local climate governance through the following processes: (1) Enabling internal mobilisation (2) Formulating emission reduction goals (3) Institutionalising Climate Trajectories (4) Enabling direct exchange and (5) Offering project support. Our data suggests that the main influences of TMCN membership unfold in internal political processes in the member cities. External interactions, such as between cities or between network staff and cities is comparably less important. We also found that many of these benefits can be associated with laggards rather than pioneering cities. We conclude that TMCNs have considerable influence on local climate governance in Germany
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