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RELEASE: Launch of the First Greenhouse Gas Accounting Tool for Chinese Cities

A new Greenhouse Gas Protocol tool to help Chinese cities measure and manage their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions was launched today in Beijing. The tool, called the Greenhouse Gas Accounting Tool for Chinese Cities (Pilot Version 1.0), was developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI), the Institute for Urban and Environmental Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), WWF China, and the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC). The tool will help support city officials in making decisions around low-carbon planning and development.

Low-carbon development has become the core theme of China’s urbanization, and GHG measurement is one of the most important steps toward this goal. The GHG Accounting Tool for Chinese Cities will help China’s cities to collect better emissions data, which is one of the biggest challenges they face in measuring their emissions.

“For the first time, the GHG Accounting Tool for Chinese Cities provides emission factors and new data collection methodologies that are tailored specifically for Chinese cities,” said Dr. Wee Kean Fong, global lead for WRI’s city-level GHG measurement project. “The tool will empower cities, counties and regions across China to measure their emissions and shift to low-carbon development.”

The tool was developed based on the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GPC) that was jointly created by WRI, C40, and ICLEI in partnership with the World Bank, UNEP, and UN-HABITAT in 2012.

This is the first city-level GHG accounting tool in China that comprehensively covers GHG emissions and sinks from buildings, industries, transportation, solid waste, wastewater treatment and disposal, industrial processes, agricultural activities, and forest and land use changes.

The tool helps cities identify the key drivers of emissions sources to enable effective low-carbon actions. It emphasizes industrial, building, transportation, and waste sectors, which are the key emission sources in most Chinese cities. For these primary sectors, more detailed data collection methodologies are provided to ensure the results are actionable.

“City-level GHG inventories must be compatible with provincial-level inventories and consistent with the international standard,” stressed Prof. Guiyang Zhuang from CASS. “This is one of the most important characteristics of this tool. It helps cities track their GHG emissions against their provincial goals and benchmark with other cities from around the world.”

Low-carbon city development is one of China’s key strategies to achieve the country 2020 target of reducing its carbon intensity by 40-45%. Currently, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has identified 36 pilot cities to test various low-carbon measures.

“China’s low-carbon city development needs systematic planning and quantitative data support. The Greenhouse Gas Accounting Tool for Chinese Cities precisely meets this demand by providing cities with a solution to measure their emissions based on internationally accepted methodologies,” said Lunyan Lu, Climate and Energy Program Director of WWF China.

Dr. Tao Pan from ISC said, “The tool will also support city agencies to update their GHG data and accurately monitor the performance of their low-carbon actions.”

Over the next year, WRI, CASS, WWF, and ISC will work together with the Chinese government, cities, and research institutes to apply the tool. Based on the feedback, the final version of this tool is planned to be published in 2014.

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