OAKLAND, California - Some of the largest U.S. cities will report their greenhouse gas emissions for the first time in a program that will demonstrate to companies, investors and the general public how cities are dealing with the risks and opportunities climate change presents. Twenty-one cities were announced today, with at least nine others expected to take part in the pilot project.
Some of the participating cities are large, such as New York, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Denver, and Portland, Oregon, while others are smaller such as Dubuque, Iowa; Saint Paul, Minnesota; West Palm Beach, Florida; and Rohnert Park, California.
Each city will assemble comparable carbon emission data within their jurisdiction's operations - fire department, ambulance and police services, municipal buildings, waste transport and other services the cities provide or activities over which they exercise budgetary control.
The Carbon Disclosure Project and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability will help the cities to report their greenhouse gas emissions.
An independent not-for-profit organization founded in 2000, the Carbon Disclosure Project represents some 385 global institutional investors, with a combined asset base of more than $57 trillion. CDP collects key climate change data from more than 3,000 major corporations globally and has assembled the largest corporate greenhouse gas emissions database in the world.
Carbon Disclosure Project chief executive Paul Dickinson said, "Over 70 percent of total global emissions are generated from cities and if you don't measure these emissions, you cannot manage them."
"This is a vital step for city councils who wish to gain a better understanding of their own impact and by improving their understanding of risks and opportunities associated with climate change, best prepare their cities for a carbon constrained world," Dickinson said.
Cities will use the local government operations protocol coauthored by ICLEI and the California Climate Action Registry with input from expert stakeholders across the United States. The protocol details the policy framework, calculation methodologies, and reporting guidance for quantifying greenhouse gas emissions from local government operations.
Then the cities will disclose this data to the Carbon Disclosure Project online reporting system.
"ICLEI's partnership with the Carbon Disclosure Project underscores how crucial standards, quantification methods and voluntary reporting are to local climate action," said Michelle Wyman, executive director of ICLEI USA, from her office in Oakland.
"This project provides the opportunity for transparency, and is essential in the emerging national and global policy dialogue as the priorities of local governments to achieve swift and deep reductions are identified and advanced by local government leaders," she said.
ICLEI USA is part of the worldwide ICLEI organization based in Toronto. The organization was founded in 1990 as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, ICLEI.
Said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, "The City of New York joins the world's leading corporations in providing a complete, accurate accounting of its carbon emissions, the strategies it is employing to mitigate those emissions, and the results of its efforts through the Carbon Disclosure Project and ICLEI. "This partnership between the world's major corporations and, increasingly, its cities, highlights the importance of the cooperative action needed to successfully counter climate change," the New York mayor said. "Working together, and with the best data, we can manage this problem, and leave our children and grandchildren a healthier and more sustainable planet."
In April 2007 Mayor Bloomberg released the first comprehensive inventory of greenhouse gas emissions in New York City's history. The inventory was completed as part of the ICLEI Cities for Climate Protection campaign.
The CDP Cities program is a voluntary disclosure process. Cities will submit their responses to CDP by October 31, 2008.
All responses will be announced and published in the first Carbon Disclosure Project Cities Report and ICLEI Local Action Network Report in January 2009.
Cities will be able to use the project to learn from peers on climate change management and the project will shed light on the level of awareness and preparedness of the cities on this issue.
The first 21 cities in the program are - Albany, New York; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Anchorage, Alaska; Arlington, Virginia; Burlington, Vermont; Denver, Colorado; Dubuque, Iowa; Edina, Minnesota; Fairfield, Iowa; Haverford, Pennsylvania; Las Vegas, Nevada; New Orleans, Louisiana; New York, New York; North Little Rock, Arkansas; Pacific Grove, California; Park City, Utah; Portland, Oregon; Rohnert Park, California; Saint Paul, Minnesota; Washougal, Washington; and West Palm Beach, Florida.
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008