The rise of sub-national actors in global climate governance underscores the need for clear alignment between these efforts and their national counterparts. As these sub-national climate actions are filling gaps in mitigation, adaptation, and financing, among other functions, a critical question is how these efforts complement or overlap with national climate pledges. This consideration is particularly important in the context of the Paris Agreement’s mandate for fiveyear review cycles, where national governments will be asked to demonstrate progress towards climate mitigation goals and increase their ambition. In this paper, we argue that alignment – both vertically between multiple jurisdictions and horizontally with external networks and actors – is critical to clarifying climate actions between multiple levels of actors and to maximizing mitigation potential. We use nine case studies to demonstrate the varying degrees and modes of vertical integration between subnational and national climate actors. We find that the case studies embody different styles of vertical alignment, and exhibit significant variation in the degree and direction of vertical alignment within each of these modes. We also find that many case studies rely on horizontally- aligned international networks and coalitions to fill gaps in financial resources or technical support. As a proof of concept, we demonstrate that an additional 1 gigaton carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in 2020 can be achieved in these nine case studies through stronger alignment that makes it possible to scale sub-national climate actions to the national level. These findings suggest there may be a missed opportunity to realize greater mitigation potential by fostering stronger vertical alignment, and enhancing coordination between horizontal networks of climate action and national governments.