This publication pioneers the new concept of “thermal governance”. Contemporary urban societies are still short on concise and deliberate thermal governance that could prove effective for the thermal management of urban districts, or even entire cities. Up until now, coping with specific thermal conditions has been a private matter rather than one subject to the city-wide coordination that this publication – based on empirical realities in Cairo, Chongqing, Geneva and Santiago de Chile – outlines. The private model will change over the next few decades, considering the politically-launched transition from carbon-based to renewable energy supply methods. In fact, energy transition and climate adaptation are one and the same process.