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ICLEI: Measure it so you can manage it

ICLEI hosted a session at the Cities & Regions Pavilion – TAP2015 at COP21 on 4 December to showcase the carbonn® Climate Registry (cCR) – the world’s leading reporting platform to enhance transparency, accountability and credibility of climate action of local and subnational governments. The cCR works with multiple partners and supports 14 global initiatives that address climate change, offering a robust reporting framework.

The first panel highlighted the experiences of cities, towns and regions reporting on the cCR. Christian Gaebler (Permanent Secretary for Transport and Environment, Berlin, Germany) opened the session by presenting Berlin’s goal to become climate neutral by 2050. This is only possible, he explained, if action is taken in a wide range of sectors, including energy supply, buildings and mobility. Berlin, he said, had developed a “no regrets” strategy of acting now and acting decisively on climate change. Gaebler also emphasized the importance of cities and their networks, and of the connections offered by the cCR through standardized reporting and an online platform. Today Berlin also became the latest reporting entity of the cCR, congratulations!

Pankaj Bhatia (Deputy Director, Climate Program and Director, GHG Protocol, World Resources Institute) highlighted that the standardized measurement of emissions is a relatively recent phenomenon. It is important, he explained, because “you can’t manage what you can’t measure”. Standardization also helps cities make a good business case for investors, ensuring credibility through a recognized standard. Bhatia presented the Global Protocol for Community-scale GHG Emission Inventories (GPC), which is in his view “the first step for cities”. Jointly developed by ICLEI, C40 and WRI, the GPC provides a comprehensive guide for cities to report their emissions, helping them through a cycle of analysis and inventories. Over 400 cities around the world have committed to use the GPC.

Peter Krahl Rydberg (Climate change program, Environmental Administration, City of Gothenburg, Sweden) noted that Gothenburg has a long history of greenhouse gas emissions inventories. The benefits of the cCR, he said, are that it is easy to use with helpful explanatory material. In addition, the fact that the platform is used for several purposes helps the city to centralize its outreach efforts. For a small city like Gothenburg to make a global impact, he added, it was important to show actions publicly and connect globally.

Panellists explored a range of topics around reporting platforms, including connections between local and national processes. Bhatia noted that ambitious national commitments can  be implemented at the local level, particularly in the energy sector. Rydberg explained that reporting on both mitigation and adaptation was useful in forcing different municipal departments to come together.

Following this, the session celebrated the launch of the latest arbonn® Climate Registry 5 Year Overview Report, which looks at progress between 2010 and 2015. Agathe Cavicchioli (ICLEI) noted that over 553 million people are represented by the 608 (November 2015) local and subnational governments reporting in the cCR. This represents 8% of the global population across 62 different countries. Cavicchioli also highlighted that reporting entities have reported over 6,000 mitigation and adaptation actions. More importantly, they have committed to one gigaton of greenhouse gas emission (CO2e) reductions by 2020. This is roughly equivalent to the emission reductions achieved by the European Union between 1990 and 2012. Finally, for the 60 reporting entities that have regularly updated their GHG inventories, the cCR is able to show that 16 of them have achieved and surpassed the commitments they took in 2010, setting an inspiring example of overachievement for others.

A range of initiatives make use of the cCR. Carina Borgström-Hansson, WWF Sweden presented the Earth Hour City Challenge, which invites cities to demonstrate their leadership on climate. For the award, cities must disclose their data, report very ambitious commitments and “inspire the world with attractive solutions”. Cities in 21 countries will participate in 2016, competing for national and Earth Hour City Challenge Global Capital awards, following suit of last year’s winner, Seoul (Republic of Korea).

In the final panel, Cida Pedrosa (Secretary of Environment and Sustainability, Recife, Brazil) highlighted the importance of reporting platforms like the cCR for seeing what other cities are doing and learning from their ambitions. Magash Naidoo (Acting Senior Director, Energy Office, eThekwini Municipality) noted that the cCR offers a single point of entry, helping to reduce bureaucracy.

The session celebrated how the cCR offers multiple benefits for towns, cities and regions around the world to demonstrate the power and potential of local climate Action.