By J.B. Wogan, Governing.com
December 12, 2014
An announcement from the United Nations climate change conference in Lima, Peru, could help American cities quantify the impacts of their environmental programs. The World Resources Institute (WRI), C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) worked together to create a new standard methodology for cities to use to count and report their greenhouse gas emissions.
As Governing reported in December, more than 1,000 American mayors in the past decade have pledged to reduce emissions, but city officials didn't have a standard way of counting them. The lack of consistency meant it was impossible to know the collective impact of mayors' efforts.
More than 100 cities around the world are already using beta versions of the new measurement methodology unveiled in Lima, officially called the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GPC), including 35 localities that adopted it on a pilot basis in the past year. (The 35 pilot sites included Hennepin County, Minn., and Los Altos, Calif.) The three organizations that developed the GPC say they’ll follow up with workshops in different cities to help train government employees on how to use the methodology.
To explain the importance of the new standard, Seth Schultz, the director of research, measurement and planning at C40, spoke with Governing Dec. 8. This has been edited for clarity and length.
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