The GHG Protocol for Cities 

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Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories

An Accounting and Reporting Standard for Cities

The World Resources Institute, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) have partnered to create a GHG Protocol standard for cities known as Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC).  (Source:

The GPC provides a robust framework for accounting and reporting city-wide greenhouse gas emissions. It seeks to:

  • Help cities develop a comprehensive and robust greenhouse gas inventory in order to support climate action planning
  • Help cities establish a base year emissions inventory, set reduction targets, and track their performance
  • Ensure consistent and transparent measurement and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions between cities, following internationally recognized greenhouse gas accounting and reporting principles
  • Enable city inventories to be aggregated at subnational and national levels
  • Demonstrate the important role that cities play in tackling climate change, and facilitate insight through bench-marking – and aggregation – of comparable data.

Cities are integral to tackling the global challenge of climate change, as both a major source of greenhouse  gas emissions, and a major source of innovative climate
solutions. An estimated 70 percent of the world’s energy related greenhouse gas emissions come from cities,a number that is likely to continue to increase as two thirds of all people are expected to live in urban areas by mid-century. At the same time, cities are designing and implementing groundbreaking solutions to mitigate climate change — promoting sustainable development and  increasing climate resilience while reducing emissions. In order to have maximum global impact, however, city leaders need a standard by which to measure their emissions  and identify the most effective ways to mitigate them.

The Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC) offers cities and local governments a robust, transparent and globally-accepted framework to consistently identify, calculate and report on city greenhouse gases. This includes emissions released within city boundaries as well as those occurring outside them as a result of activities taking place within the city. The GPC establishes credible emissions accounting and reporting practices that help cities develop an emissions baseline, set mitigation goals, create more targeted climate action plans and track progress over time, as well as strengthen opportunities for cities to partner with other levels of government and increase access to local and international climate financing.

The GPC has already been adopted as a central component of the Compact of Mayors, the world’s largest cooperative effort among mayors and city officials to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions, track progress and prepare for the impacts of climate change. Launched in September 2014, the Compact aims to undertake a transparent and supportive approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate risk, in a manner consistent with – and complementary to – the international climate negotiation process under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Urban areas are a logical setting for implementing and measuring climate action.

Local governments can be more nimble where regional or national governments are more restricted by bureaucracy. Mayors, local councils and community leaders understand local needs and constraints, which often results in bolder, more effective action being taken. They can track the performance of city services, guide change in the community and set regulations that govern land use, building efficiency, and local transportation.

Thousands of cities are already taking action to reduce emissions and improve climate resilience. With the GPC, these cities and their advocates have a global standard to track greenhouse gas performance and lead the way to a more sustainable future.

* Click to download (Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories , 5.91 MB)

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About the authors:

The GPC is the newest and full publication that has taken into consideration feedback from the pilot test in 2013 and global public comments in 2012 and 2014 . It replaces all the previous draft versions of the GPC and supersedes the International Local Government Greenhouse Gas Emissions Analysis Protocol (community section) published by ICLEI in 2009 and the International Standard for Determining Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Cities published by the World Bank, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and UN-HABITAT in 2010.

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