Accelerating evidence-based climate action

New scenario planning tool helps cities to develop robust climate action plans

By Michael Doust, Programme Director, Measurement and Planning at C40

Scenario planning and modelling tools, which help cities explore the future in different ways, are a powerful way of supporting the decisions we make about our cities. Building a better understanding of how cities could change in the future, and being able to quickly and easily explore the impact of different policy and technology choices is essential if cities are to play a leading role in helping to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement. 

Turning climate plans into actions can be cost-effective and efficient; cities just need the right tools. For this very reason, C40, together with the World Bank, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and in partnership with AECOM, have developed the Climate action for URBan sustainability (CURB) scenario planning tool. The CURB tool is a powerful data-driven scenario planning tool that helps cities make decisions about the future of their energy, transport and waste systems, which will ultimately result in higher greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions.

The tool, available free of charge, enables users to develop, compare and explore multiple scenarios; identifying and prioritising low-carbon infrastructure and policy options. 

CURB is consistent with the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC) standard. Building on GPC inventory data, CURB benefits from an extensive built-in international dataset of building, energy, transportation and waste system data, enabling users to use city, national and region-specific data to quickly build up credible scenarios, while always allowing users to insert their own data where available to strengthen the analysis. 

“The Quezon City Government is grateful for the Technical Assistance provided by C40 on greenhouse gas inventories, emission scenarios and target setting. Through this hands-on support, our city technical staff became familiarised with the CURB tool which enabled us to analyse the impacts of GHG mitigation initiatives in different scenarios.

With CURB’s user-friendly interface, Quezon City will be able to foresee and strategically prioritise mitigation schemes for each emission sector. The tool without a doubt, will support the city in updating Quezon’s City Local Climate Change Action Plan (LCCAP), especially with a view to setting emission reduction targets."

Herbert Bautista, Mayor, Quezon City

The CURB tool has been piloted in seven C40 cities worldwide: Buenos Aires (Argentina), Quito (Ecuador), Lima (Peru) Johannesburg (South Africa), Quezon City (the Philippines), Amman (Jordan) and New Orleans (USA). The latter has recently launched its new climate strategy – Climate Action for a Resilient New Orleans, 50% by 2030 – for which CURB was used by the city to evaluate a range of proposed actions. In 2016, the City of New Orleans conducted a baseline inventory for 2014 using the GPC, and in 2017, with the help of CURB, the city evaluated the proposed actions and estimated how they will support the city meet its goal of 50% reduction by 2030. Using CURB, the city outlined priority key actions, such as reducing the city reliance on carbon-intensive fuels, increasing fuel efficiency, clean fuel use and shared mobility services as well as launching a comprehensive recycling and waste reduction programme.

“The evaluation of low carbon actions with support of CURB, enables cities to identify priority sectors and establishes clear and ambitious goals that allow building a sustainable and resilient city.”

Dr. Mauricio Rodas Espinel, Mayor, Municipality of the Metropolitan District of Quito

Endorsed by the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, CURB represents a major step forward in accelerating the development of city-level climate action strategies aligned with the Paris Agreement’s objective of limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.

Learn more about the CURB tool and download it for free here.

Example of the analysis conducted by the City of New Orleans using the CURB tool included in its new Climate Action Strategy.