New Technical Assistance Programme will help C40 cities measure, target, and ultimately reduce greenhouse gas emissions

C40’s recently launched Technical Assistance Programme will help member cities worldwide conduct detailed inventories of their greenhouse gas emissions, and subsequently set targets to limit future emissions and develop climate action plans.

At COP21 in December, C40 announced that the British philanthropy Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) will be funding the first phase of the programme. CIFF’s investment aims to catalyze consistent, transparent and robust measurement of urban emissions in cities across the world with the result of setting robust reduction targets using an international gold standard – the Global Protocol for Community Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories (GPC). This will enable city-to-city comparison, knowledge sharing, more detailed climate action plans and support other global efforts like the Compact of Mayors.

Over the next two and a half years, this funding will help 30 of the world’s biggest cities, home to roughly 300 million people across Asia, Africa and Latin America, develop evidence-based and strategic approaches to tacking climate change. Urgent action is vital in order to avoid locking in high-emissions development pathways due to rapid urbanization. This is critical as research shows that urban policy decisions before 2020 could determine up to a third of the remaining global carbon budget that is not already ‘locked-in’ by past decisions. Investing in low carbon infrastructure now will be four times less expensive than pursuing an alternative path and then having to replace it in the future.

A greenhouse gas inventory lays the foundations for an evidence-based and systematic approach to taking action on climate change at a city level. It enables cities to identify their most significant emission sources and therefore focus their efforts and resources. It also supports the monitoring and verification of emission reduction actions.

Publicly reporting greenhouse gas inventories also provides benefits to many other stakeholders - including the wider C40 community, local, regional and national government, businesses, researchers and civil society. It helps inform the climate action planning activities of these other actors and enables benchmarking of emissions across cities and sectors.

Critically, the ability of cities to report their progress in a consistent way will play an important role in helping to demonstrate that the ambitious agreement made in Paris in December is achievable.

Additional funding is currently being sought to enable C40 to offer further technical assistance to all its cities.