The Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC) – A New Passage Point on an Old Road?
52 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2016 Last revised: 9 Dec 2016
Date Written: November 23, 2016
Urban areas and cities have received growing recognition in transnational climate governance as crucial sites of emission sources, and as governmental and administrative actors with significant influence on carbon-intense infrastructures (Bulkeley & Betsill 2013; Schroeder et al. 2013). Since the late 1980s, greenhouse gas emission inventories have been conducted for cities and metropolitan regions as a means of developing reduction measures and monitoring their effects. Early approaches were characterized by great discrepancies between methodologies that were specifically designed for particular local needs. Subsequently, various transnational actors began to develop standardized tools by adapting existing methodologies developed for the national level and for corporations to the needs of cities and municipalities. So far, no municipal emission inventory protocol has been recognized as a globally agreed standard. The field received new momentum in 2014, when the two transnational city networks ICLEI and C40 Cities joined under the newly established Compact of Mayors initiative, and announced the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC). This paper provides a genealogy of the GPC by comparing several municipal inventory protocols. The analysis suggest that if understood as a means of strengthening the political claims of transnational actors, the GPC can indeed be expected to have considerable impact on the global climate policy arena. However, despite its considerable effort, the protocol ultimately does not bring much new to the table in technical terms, as it does not solve known issues of geographic-plus emissions accounting. Therefore, the GPC is characterized as a new passage point on an old road.
Keywords: Cities and Climate Change, Emissions Accounting, Emissions Reporting, Non-State Actors, Transnational Municipal Networks, Standardization, Transnational Climate Governance
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