What is the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC)?

The Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC) is a joint project by ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), the World Resources Institute (WRI) and C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), with additional collaboration by the World Bank, UNEP, and UN-Habitat. As a global reporting standard, the GPC enables cities and communities to consistently measure and report GHG emissions and develop climate action plans and low-emission urban development strategies. 

Why is the GPC such a game-changing Protocol?

The GPC provides the most comprehensive greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting and reporting framework for cities around the globe. It allows local governments using this consistent standard to:

  • Set emission reduction targets
  • Track performance, responding to regulations and requirements of local GHG programs
  • Build and report GHG inventories which are compatible with international standards
  • Allow horizontal aggregating and vertical integrating city GHG data
  • Provide solid proof of GHG developments for carbon financing.

See here the official Press Release of the launch at 8th December 2014 in Lima, Peru

A VIDEO on what GPC is and featuring insights to the official launch you can find here

Latest Developments

The Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC) is the result of a collaborative effort between the GHG Protocol at WRI, C40, and ICLEI. The development of the GPC began in June 2011 as a result of a Memorandum of Understanding between C40 and ICLEI. In 2012, the partnership expanded to include WRI and the Joint Work Program of the Cities Alliance between the World Bank, UNEP, and UN-HABITAT.

An early draft was released in March 2012 for public comment. It was then updated (“GPC Pilot Version 1.0”) and tested in 35 cities worldwide. During the same period, six in-person stakeholder consultation workshops were organized in Beijing, Sao Paulo, London, Dar es Salaam, New Delhi, and Jakarta Over 150 city officials, researchers, and practitioners from around the world provided feedback to the GPC Pilot Version 1.0. Based on this feedback, the GPC was further revised and issued for a second public comment in July-August 2014. The final version of the GPC was published in December 2014. It supersedes all the previous draft and pilot versions.

Throughout the piloting process cities provided valuable input and contributed to making the GPC more user-friendly and technically robust. The GPC contains several improvements from its pilot version, including: 

  • Boundary setting and reporting levels: The GHG Protocol ‘scopes’ framework has been adapted to suit the needs of a city-level inventory and help clarify boundaries for emission sources and reporting. Multiple reporting levels (BASIC and BASIC+) accommodate city differences in technical capacity and data availability.
  • Elaboration of calculation methods and procedures by sector: This includes new guidance on data collection and GHG emissions calculation.
  • Comparison with IPCC national inventory practices and other city guidance documents: For cities that have followed other inventory approaches in the past, including adapting national inventory practices to a city, the GPC shows how these different frameworks align with the GPC and to translate these into a GPC-compliant report.
  • Clarification on inventory aggregation: Increasingly, city GHG data is shared with national governments and informs national initiatives. The GPC draft identifies how multiple cities’ inventory data can be rolled up or aggregated at the national level while avoiding double counting.
  • Guidance on setting goals and tracking emissions over time: The GPC  follows international best practices, including those in the emerging GHG Protocol Mitigation Goals Standard, in elaborating how cities can set different types of GHG reduction goals and measure progress consistently as cities change in administrative boundaries or adopt better data and methodologies.

 City Examples:

  • Belo Horizonte, Brazil, as one of the 35 GPC pilot cities, as well as part of the Urban-LEDS project, recently compiled its first GHG inventory following the GPC guidance. The inventory will support the city’s efforts of a 20% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030 (based on 2007 levels). Belo Horizonte also hosted a training event for other Brazilian cities on the GPC Methodology at a national event this November. (see GHG inventory here)
  • Rajkot and seven other Indian cities – home to almost 11 million people – conducted their first GHG inventories in compliance with beta versions of the GPC as part of the Urban-LEDS project which is promoting Low Emission Development Strategies (LEDS) in cities. The GPC guidance will help i.e. the City of Rajkot, (one of the GPC pilot testing cities), to implement actions to achieve its 14% CO2 reduction target until 2016 (based on 2011 base year). (see GHG inventory here)
  • Through the Urban-LEDS project, implemented by ICLEI and UN-Habitat and funded by the European Union, 55% (16) of the 29 participating cities from the emerging economy countries of Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Africa, have recently completed their first GHG inventory or are close to finalizing these. All these inventories have been guided by the previous version of the GPC, and will be aligned to the new standard soon.

The GPC and the Compact of Mayors

The GPC also underpins the global Compact of Mayors, the world’s largest cooperative effort among cities to reduce GHG emissions, track progress and prepare for the impacts of climate change. The Compact – endorsed by preeminent global city networks – has adopted the GPC as part of its core activities to raise the level of ambition and quality of city GHG inventory reporting. Using GPC, cities can report emissions through the carbonn Climate Registry, the Compact’s designated central repository.

Resources for GHG Accounting & Reporting

An earlier version from 2012, the GPC marks an unprecedented international consensus on GHG accounting and reporting emissions. It also aids the growing number of cities voluntarily reporting to the carbonn Climate Registry (cCR). The cCR is the world’s largest reporting platform on climate actions and commitments and the designated repository for the Compact of Mayors, launched in September 2014. The GPC equips reporting cities to consistently measure and track their actions and make a credible case for accessing local and international climate financing.

The Harmonized Emissions Analysis Tool plus (HEAT+) is a GPC compatible multilingual online emissions inventory tool to help Local Governments account GHGs, Common Air Pollutants (CAP) and other Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC).  HEAT+ helps Local Governments make informed climate action decisions and identify the most effective measures in emissions and pollutant abatement.

  • Consistent with the national Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines
  • Saving Money
  • Improving air quality
  • Mitigating global warming




Supporting Partners

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