Jan 2016 – Dec 2019

Rolling out a global emissions accounting system for cities



Multiple countries – Global

To create a critical mass of cities across the world quantifying their urban emission, setting robust reduction targets, and showcasing that monitoring and reporting emissions is feasible.

$6,552,000 Grant Value

$615,000 evaluation budget


Cities are major centres of resource and energy consumption, and therefore of greenhouse gas emissions. Unless addressed, per capita emissions from emerging cities in the developing world will, by 2030, be on a par with existing megacities. 

To limit global temperature rise to less than 2C, emissions in developed cities must be reduced and developing cities must be supported in achieving low-emissions growth, avoiding further carbon lock-in. 

This investment will help create a critical mass of cities across the world quantifying their urban emissions and setting robust reduction targets using an international goal standard - Global Protocol for Community Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories (GPC). In addition, this will showcase the feasibility of monitoring, reporting and verification which is a requirement proposed for countries under the international climate negotiations that will lead to a global climate treaty in 2015.

C40 will provide technical assistance, tools, guidance and training to 30 targeted C40 cities to support them to credibly measure their emissions, understand the key sources, and set robust and ambitious targets for climate action. The 30 cities in the programme have been selected based on the risk of lock-in of future emissions, powers to implement, political window of opportunity and capacity. 

This will create a global critical mass of cities measuring and reporting their emissions on a consistent basis, enabling comparison between geographies and provide exemplars for other cities to follow. 

This is recognised as critical to accelerate the scale-up of climate action and will enable cities to comply with key requirements of the Compact of Mayors, the largest collaboration of mayors identified as progressives on climate change and city action.


This investment will establish as a norm the use of data on greenhouse gas emissions by mayors in their planning, prioritisation and performance monitoring processes. It will accelerate the likelihood of city action and provide the first robust, bottom-up estimate of urban emissions data to enable an assessment of the contribution of cities to close the ‘gap’ between national emissions pledges and the reductions needed to achieve the 2C target.

C40 has released the Greenhouse Gas Protocol for Cities (GPC) Interactive Dashboard, an exciting new tool that allows users to explore and compare the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of C40 member cities reported through the Global Protocol for Community-scale GHG Emission Inventories. The tool currently has in its database the GHG emissions data of 28 C40 cities, allowing member cities and the public to explore the efforts and progress C40 cities are collectively making in reducing the causes and impacts of climate change.