Published on Sustainable Cities

Request for Public Comments on New Global Protocol for City-Scale GHG Emissions

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ImageIn response to the global need for consistency when measuring and reporting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a group of organizations have partnered to develop a Global Protocol for Community-scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions (community protocol). Beginning today and for the next month, the draft edition of the GPC is open for public comment, marking a landmark effort which seeks to harmonize the emissions measurement and reporting process for cities of all sizes and geographies.

“C40 operates under the premise that cities must measure emissions in order to manage them; with this unprecedented and collaborative initiative, we are empowering all cities to do both,” says Jay Carson, CEO of C40.

Planning for climate action at the city level starts with developing a GHG inventory, which allows local policy makers and residents to understand which sectors drive GHG emissions in their city or community, and respond by developing action plans that address those sectors. C40’s research shows that more than 62 percent of C40 Cities report that they have established climate action plans to date. We also know that cities around the world differ greatly in their capacity to gather the required information, and have used a variety of different protocols to account for and report emissions data, making credible benchmarking and aggregation of data at the city-scale extremely difficult.

This new collaboratively developed community protocol establishes a single minimum standard for accounting and reporting community‐scale GHG emissions that can be used across multiple platforms (the 2012 Standard). By simplifying the process and making it more broadly accessible, this common approach will help local governments accelerate their emission-reduction activities, while also meeting the needs of climate financing, national monitoring and reporting requirements. The community protocol integrates seamlessly with national and corporate GHG accounting methodologies, facilitating linkages between these entities for improved coordination to reduce GHG emissions.

"With the protocol, local climate action is entering a new phase of globally harmonized GHG accounting and reporting. Cities will continue leading the way towards building low-carbon and sustainable communities worldwide." says Konrad Otto-Zimmermann, Secretary General of ICLEI.

The community protocol has three main components: guiding principles and a policy framework to link the efforts across local and national governments and the private sector; the 2012 Accounting and Reporting Standard with supplemental guidance on methodologies, and reporting templates; and, finally, a roadmap for institutionalizing the process for updating the Standard on an ongoing basis.

Its release today marks a major milestone in the year-long partnership between C40 and ICLEI on this effort, which includes collaboration with the World Bank Group, UN-HABITAT, UNEP, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the World Resources Institute (WRI). While C40 and ICLEI have represented the interests of their member cities during the community protocol development, partners have also engaged cities for insights on needs and challenges gained through their own experiences; in next steps, a small group of cities will pilot the 2012 Standard to test its application across a range of scenarios. As we enter into the public comment period, C40 and ICLEI encourage all cities to provide input on the community protocol and register for upcoming explanatory webinars.

The full document and accompanying fact sheet are now available for review. Comments on the full document should be submitted through the feedback form template by the closing date of the comment period on April 20, 2012. Feedback should be sent directly to and

C40 and ICLEI will be hosting public webinars, with dedicated outreach to C40 and ICLEI member cities, on Tuesday April 3rd, 2012 from 7:00am – 8:00am UTC (GMT) and Wednesday April 4, 2012 from 3:00pm – 4:00pm UTC (GMT). To register or to receive further details on these upcoming events, please contact

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Rishi Desai

Director, Research Projects

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