Tracking Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and mitigation efforts is no easy task. Accurate data collection may require decades worth of data points and many seemingly noncontributing factors may skew results.
The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) is working with local and regional organizations all over the globe to achieve sustainable urban development. ICLEI works with regional organizations by incorporating sustainability into regional planning and policy. ICLEI has also developed several tools and projects to assist policy makers. Through the GHG Contribution Analysis Toolkit, regions and local officials can compare and contrast the relative effect different factors have on overall GHG emissions in the region.
Last week the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) hosted a webinar featuring a presentation from ICLEI on some of the tools and programs they offer to regional leaders to track progress in GHG mitigation. The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) joined the webinar to discuss how their regions are tracking GHG mitigation efforts and how the GHG Contribution Analysis Toolkit has helped them in their work.
Three takeaways from the webinar:
- Inventories are Important for Tracking GHG Emissions Reduction
You can’t effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions if you’re not measuring them. Measuring emissions helps regional leaders identify what the largest emission sources are in the region. Tracking GHG emissions over time can lead to effective reduction actions and cost saving across multiple sectors.
- Multiple Inventories Provide Significantly More Information Than Single Inventories
Single GHG inventories can provide a breakdown of emissions levels by sector -at a single point in time, but they do not capture changes in emissions levels by sector over time. This can be achieved through multiple inventories, which show change over time (often five-year periods), giving local officials a better picture of overall mitigation efforts.
- Contribution Analysis Tools Can Help Fill the Gaps Left by More Limited Inventories
Basic inventories can provide good information regarding emission levels by sector, but they typically lack information about the specific driving factors of change. Factors like population growth, a cleaner electricity grid, and changing mean temperatures all affect emission level changes, but traditional inventories typically don’t capture all of this information. Contribution analysis tools provide analysis at this level, which results in more actionable information that can be passed on to lawmakers, community leaders, and residents
You can find a recording of the webinar here.
copy of the webinar’s PowerPoint presentation can be found here.