Seeking Public Comments on New Protocol for City-level GHG Emissions

By Pankaj Bhatia and Wee Kean Fong - March 20, 2012

This article was originally published on the WRI blog, Insights

We are excited by the release of the first draft of the Global Protocol for Community-Scale GHG Emissions (GPC) to help cities around the world measure and report greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions using a more consistent protocol. The GPC has been developed by Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) and C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), in partnership with the World Resources Institute (WRI)World BankUnited Nations Environment Programme, and UN-Habitat. Today begins a one-month public comment period on the protocol to ensure it will fit the needs of those who will be implementing it. The GPC is built upon a number of previously published standards and protocols, including GHG Protocol standards, which is led by WRI and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBSCD). Specifically it incorporates the ‘scope’ framework [see box] to distinguish direct and indirect emission sources across major categories including energy, transportation, and waste sectors. Using the scope framework, the GPC establishes an approach that enables consistent data exchange and reporting at the corporate, city, and national levels.

In the Carbon Disclosure Project’s 2011 Global Report on C40 Cities, 42 city-members and six non-members submitted reports, a signal of increasing interest in GHG emissions management for cities. This progress, while significant, occurred in the absence of commonly accepted standardized methodologies to measure city-level emissions. The new GPC will assist cities by making it easier to measure GHG emissions and report them in a consistent manner.

The GPC also complements ICLEI´s programs and tools on local climate action that are being implemented globally, in particular the 2009 International Local Government GHG Emissions Analysis Protocol (IEAP) and its national supplements. GPC will be applied to the greenhouse gas performance section of the carbonn® Cities Climate Registry, which as of February 2012 compiles reports from over 160 cities worldwide who account for more than 1 GtCO2/year of community greenhouse gas emissions.

Collecting data is often one of the most daunting components of completing a GHG inventory, especially when it includes scope 3 (or value chain) activities. By creating a standardized format for measurement and reporting, the GPC will improve the flow of data across these different inventories and ease the challenges that may prevent local governments from tracking their emissions. The new protocol will also help cities identify GHG reduction opportunities and pave the way for them to design their own climate change action plans and implement measures on the ground.

The draft GPC is an important step locally and nationally towards more effective management of GHG emissions, and WRI is pleased to be a part of the process. In collaboration with ICLEI and C40, WRI looks forward to building upon this work and the recently released GHG Protocol Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard by developing a full value chain standard. This will provide detailed scope 3 guidance, which will help cities measure their GHG emissions across a full range of direct and indirect emission sources. This comprehensive look at local-level emissions can help cities ensure that all emissions are being accounted for between different government municipalities.

To submit comments to the draft Global Protocol for Community-Scale GHG Emissions, use the document provided here and submit by email to either GPC@C40.com or GPC@ICLEI.org. Public comments are due by April 20, 2012 and will be incorporated into the next draft of the GPC. See more information about the project from:

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Sarah Huckins

Communications Manager, GHG Protocol