Two of every three major cities now report their greenhouse gas emissions data

Wiles Greenworld has learned that major cities are keeping pace with global organisations when it comes to measuring their greenhouse gas emissions. Two thirds now report annual carbon data according to a survey by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).

The first global cities report says 42 of the world’s largest cities are responsible for pumping out 1.2 billion metric tons CO2e, which equates to the total emissions of Japan.

The report, published at the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) Cities Climate Leadership Group Mayors Summit in Sao Paulo last week, found that 72 per cent measured and reported to the CDP on local government and community greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the risks and opportunities arising from climate change.

CDP said mayors were increasingly embracing initiatives to bolster green industries and create new jobs, with 62 per cent of reporting cities claiming to have climate change action plans and 57 per cent adopting greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Transport, buildings, energy savings, renewable energy sources, green spaces and waste were the most frequently mentioned areas of focus incorporated into cities’ green plans, it said.

The reasons behind this trend are clear. Over 90 per cent of cities recognised significant physical risks associated with climate change, while 43 per cent said they are already dealing with climate impacts, such as more intense rainfall, rising seas levels, and more severe storms.

“Cities are on the frontlines in addressing global climate changes,” said New York City Mayor and C40 Chair, Michael Bloomberg.

Earlier at the Sao Paulo conference, the World Bank agreed with the C40 to make funds more readily available for city authorities to access finance for low carbon and climate adaptation initiatives.

In order to measure progress, the C40 plans to devise a new standard for calculating greenhouse gas emissions in conjunction with the ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, an international association of local and municipal governments committed to sustainable development. The two bodies hope to have devised a methodology in time for the UN climate summit in Durban this November.

“Establishing a single global standard for reporting greenhouse gas emissions will empower local governments to accelerate their actions and access funding for mitigation and adaptation projects,” said Bloomberg. “This will enable new efficiencies and create a level playing field for comparing emissions across cities around the world.”

ICLEI said it hoped to simplify the various different standards that currently exist, including the UN and World Bank backed International Standard for Reporting Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Cities and its own International Local Government GHG Emissions Analysis Protocol.

It added that it hopes to eliminate the “inconsistencies” that reduce these standards’ efficacy by using the best aspects of each, and then focusing on improving comparability, targeting areas where local governments have the greatest opportunity to exert influence through local policies, and ensuring emissions data from sub regions can be aggregated easily.

“Accounting, reporting and managing local emissions are among the priority responsibilities of local governments,” said David Cadman, Councillor of Vancouver and President of ICLEI. “Through their ambitious commitments, cities are once again moving the world, and partnership between ICLEI and C40 will pave the way for measurable, reportable, verifiable local climate action.”

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