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Urban GHG Emissions: Proper Allocation Can Be Crucial for Policy Development

By Cesar Carreño

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Within the context of urban GHG emissions comes a selected variety of protocols, principles and standards. These can be originated from international organizations (UNFCCC); private sector & NGOs (WRI; ICLEI; C40) and National level (National Government); being this last one adapted to the local context with minor changes.

Working with such variety of guidelines can be confusing as some of them express the same numbers although with different names sometimes; a practical example of such scenario comes when comparing the IPCC´s 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories with the worldwide used and city dedicated Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC).

It is noted that 2006 IPPC expresses energy as a whole while the GPC separates stationary from mobile; reflecting the flows and sources that occurs naturally in an urban context. This is not wrong; obviously, it does depend on the final use of the information and the intended user. Nonetheless; when developing an inventory we must be fully aware of where are we going to allocate our GHG emissions while properly following the guidelines that we have deemed appropriate for this work. In this case, I will provide a couple of tips for novice GPC users.

For Stationary Energy:

  • Under the energy industries sub-sector; there is a sector for Energy generation supplied to the grid; when adding the numbers this value should not be counted as it is included for transparency only. For practical purposes; this number is already included under the emissions from consumption and it only shows how much is required for your city to generate certain amount of energy that is fed into the grid. Also, it is not mandatory but nice to have.
  • Different methods may be used to model this allocation as well.

For Transportation:

  • All emissions from electric vehicles (included trains, cars and off road transportation) can often be difficult to disaggregate from their charging stations if these are located at home or at our premises; in order to overcome this issue you can use the notation key IE (Included Elsewhere) with a detailed description such as “Emissions are included under Stationary Energy; Residential Sector”

For Waste:

  • Very often emissions from transportation used within the landfill operation are included under the Waste Sector; this is incorrect as it should be included under the Stationary Energy sector in the Industrial Sub-Sector. Waste emissions on GPC include emissions from anaerobic processes; waste incineration; wastewater and mechanical biological treatment only and NOT from fuel combustion. Please refer to table 6.5 on page 62 of the GPC.
  • When generating energy from any waste-to-energy project; all these emissions should be included under Stationary Energy sectors – Energy Generation Supplied to the grid sub-sector. Please refer to box 8.1 on page 88 of the GPC.

How does this support policy development? It can provide a very detailed insight for further enhancement of our local government policies, for instance; in Stationary Energy it can be mandatory to have independent meters for Electric Vehicles either at home or at work; generating cleaner data for allocation in both Stationary Energy and Transportation sectors. For Energy Generation; it can provide an overview on what are the needs for pushing Renewable Energy projects and it offers a particular simplified view for the stakeholders.

The more detailed information, the more detailed and effective the policy.

If you want to know more about the GPC you can visit this link and for tailored 3-day training, you can find more information on www.cityclimateplanner.org.

Do you want to tackle climate change in Canada? Check out the National Climate League, running from August 15th to October 31st, or join or start a local group at ClimateHub.ca

Cesar holds a bachelor in Agricultural engineering with a minor in business management from Universidad Católica de Guayaquil. A Master in Project management from Universidad de León, Spain and a Master of Sciences in international material flow management from FH trier in Germany. He is currently Senior Project Officer at ICLEI Local governments for sustainability in Bonn, Germany assisting with GHG inventories validation and verification, writing proposals and paper and coordinating projects with stakeholders and ICLEI regional offices. He is also part of the technical working group for emissions and GHG targets for the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy.

Contact Cesar at cesar.carreno@iclei.org

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