04 October 2012

ICLEI Releases First National Standard for Measuring a Community's Carbon Footprint

Today the first national standard for how to measure and report the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with communities was released by ICLEI–Local Governments for Sustainability USA (ICLEI USA) to help more local governments reduce their communities’ carbon emissions.

More information on the Announcement is below:

"The Community Protocol simplifies and standardizes the technical guidance necessary to complete a greenhouse gas emissions inventory. This allows local governments to gain a clearer understanding of which sources and activities within their communities—from power generation and passenger vehicles to livestock and solid waste treatment—are most responsible for the greenhouse gases driving climate change.

Making Sense of the Protocol
How does the Community Protocol help cities and counties tell their “carbon stories”? See http://www.icleiusa.org/communityprotocol 

Telling the Story of a Community’s Carbon Footprint
The Community Protocol incorporates a range of new innovations in GHG accounting. But its greatest appeal is its flexibility. Local governments just beginning their climate action work can follow its basic methodology and minimum reporting requirements, while more advanced cities can also choose to report a wider set of GHG activities or conduct a deeper analysis, following the lead of trailblazing local governments like Seattle and King County, WA.

"The Community Protocol recognizes that there is no one way to tell a community's carbon story," said Garrett Fitzgerald, the Community Protocol's Steering Committee Chair, and Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Oakland, CA. "For example, some local governments may want to focus on emissions they have the most influence over. Others may want to motivate their residents to take action on a broader set of carbon emissions. The Community Protocol will help local governments to frame their reporting based on their goals."

Why Measuring GHG Emissions Is Key
Getting a clear picture of the sources and activities that generate a community’s carbon emissions is invaluable. A local government can use this information to set achievable GHG emissions reduction goals, and draft a climate action plan with targeted strategies, following ICLEI’s proven Five Milestones for Climate Mitigation process, which more than 800 U.S. local governments have utilized. Over time, a local government can re-measure its emissions to gauge progress, and the Community Protocol’s clear guidance makes this action easier. The Community Protocol also more easily facilitates comparing carbon footprints between different communities, and will set the stage to more accurately track local government trends nationally."