At least 60 cities and communities from around the world have formally adopted the Global Protocol for Community-Scale GHG Emissions (GPC). This international greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting standard for cities was jointly developed by WRI, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI).

The Challenge

Cities account for more than 70 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. Many recognize the importance of GHG inventories in city planning and have started measuring and reporting their GHG emissions. However, the absence of a universal accounting standard led to a number of issues in city GHG inventories, including:

  • Inconsistency: Inventories varied in types of gases measured, emissions sources included, and categorization of emissions, reducing clarity and comparability of results.
  • Incompleteness: Many of the methods out there focus only on carbon dioxide emissions, excluding other essential greenhouse gases covered under the Kyoto Protocol.
  • Double-counting: Due to unclear categorization and division of direct and indirect emissions, double-counting within and between inventories occurred.

These differences confused and sometimes misled decision-makers, users, and practitioners.

WRI’s Role

The pilot version of the GPC was released in 35 cities in May 2012. In the first 6 months, the three core partners deliberated on how to develop the standard together and engage diverse cities. Early this year, the partners agreed that the GHG Protocol program at WRI would lead development of the GPC while C40 and ICLEI would lever their extensive city networks to participate as pilot testers. WRI has since established an advisory committee that consists of more than 30 international organizations, cities, national governments, and foundations.

Our Impact

Within a year of the GPC’s launch, we have influenced 60 cities to measure and report city-wide GHG emissions. Successful implementation by these pioneer cities has created momentum to scale up GPC’s global adoption in other cities. In particular, we continue to work with our partners to promote it in China, Brazil, and India. In these countries, we’ve begun developing country-specific, GHG calculation tools and provided training and technical assistance to help local practitioners. Once the GPC is finalized in early 2014, we aim to convince more than 500 cities to use the standard by 2018.