This special issue contributes to scholarly debates about the role of cities in global climate governance, reflecting on the promise, limits, and politics of cities as agents of change. It takes an empirically-informed approach drawing on multiple diverse geographical and political contexts. Overall, the special issue aims to stimulate reflection and debate about where understanding and practice needs improvement to advance the role of cities in global climate governance. Key questions that are addressed in the special issue include: To what extent do real world experiences confirm or disconfirm the high expectations of cities as agents and sites of change in addressing global climate change as expressed in urban climate governance literature? In what ways do internal political dynamics of cities enable or constrain urban climate governance? How is climate governance in cities enabled and constrained by interactions with broader governance levels? In what ways can climate governance in cities be advanced through critical attention to the previous issues?.