Climate change poses not only a local place-based problem, but also cross- scale challenge. Addressing this unprecedented challenge requires actions at different levels (multilevel) raging from conventions and treaties at the global level to climate protection measures at the city level. The relationship between cities and climate change is usually based on a complex balance between vulnerability and responsibility. By mitigation cities can substantially reduce their environmental impact and consequently transform their infrastructure and the behavior and consumption patterns of their dwellers improving the global environment. By adaptation cities can become resilient to the impacts of climate change and reduce risks from climate change and variability. It is also particularly important to focus on global cities that are engines of economic growth, centers of innovation for the global economy and important areas of population concentration and growth. Building on that, this paper analyses the factors shaping climate policies in two global cities in Brazil through a multilevel perspective: São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. It explores how climate change is being framed and how local governments are responding to it in terms of policy strategies and instruments. We argue that the participation in transnational networks of subnational governments has been crucial for promoting and supporting climate change actions in both cities. However, the organization, steering and implementation of these measures rely heavily on a landscape formed by multiple actors with a variety of interests, capacities, and challenges often spanning several sectors. This fragmented landscape of actors, interests and sectors combined with structural governance problems pose significant challenges for the advancement of these efforts in the two cities. We discuss the governing of climate change action and analyze the factors that can constrain or undermine these actions.