Global cities sign up to standardised carbon reporting

More than 100 cities from around the world have signed up to the testing phase of a new protocol which claims to be the first standardised international agreement to measure and report city emissions.

The Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC), launched today at the UN summit in Lima, aims to help cities set mitigation goals, create more targeted climate action plans and track progress over time.

The GPC is already supported by 100 cities that are home to 107 million people; emitting more than 1.1 gigatonnes of greenhouse gases.

Mayoral approval

Inventory methods that cities have previously used vary significantly, raising questions around data quality and limiting the ability to aggregate local and subnational GHG emissions data. With the GPC, cities are required to measure and report a comprehensive inventory of GHG emissions following the same accounting principles established by the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.

The standardised reporting offered by the GPC also underpins the global Compact of Mayors – a UN-sponsored initiative to help cities reduce emissions and prepare for climate change.

UN special envoy for cities and climate change Michael R. Bloomberg said: “The Compact of Mayors that we launched at the UN Climate Summit is drawing attention to the powerful work cities are doing to confront climate change and helping them build on their progress.

“The GPC’s standardised system for measuring and reporting emissions is a critical component of the Compact. It will help cities see what climate strategies are working, better target their resources, and hold themselves accountable for results. The more cities take part in the Compact and adopt the GPC, the greater impact it will have.”

City oil-slickers

The new protocol is part of growing international focus on the environmental impact of cities, which account for more than 70% of global energy-related carbon emissions.

British study released last week proposed one solution to the problem, arguing that investment in energy efficiency and renewables in cities could pay for itself within five years and reduce emissions by 34%.

Catch up with the rest of the headline news at COP20 in Lima with our Summit summary.

Report: GPC standard for cities

 Brad Allen

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie