In recent years there has been a renewed interest in subnational levels of governance as sites of potential and renewed ambition on climate change. One recent challenge to dominant neoliberal discourses of climate governance is legislation enacted in Wales, which places sustainable development as the central organising principle of local government. Through a Critical Discourse Analysis, supplemented by stakeholder interviews, this research analyses the discursive potential of this legislation in reshaping local governance of climate change. The findings show that the introduction of new legislation can foster the emergence of collaborative structures and collective language, but is limited in its ability to broaden climate governance discourses. This research highlights how seemingly progressive legislation is hampered in its potential through its hybridisation with already-existing neoliberal climate governance discourses and structures. It also demonstrates the importance of discourse analysis in identifying subtle narratives at work in the governance of climate change.
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© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.