Citywide Greenhouse Gas Accounting Initiative in China Launched

On May 5, 2011, USAID’s US-China Partnership for Climate Action program partners, the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) and the World Resource Institute (WRI), signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Municipality Government of Xiaolan to launch the Xiaolan Low Carbon Initiative. Xiaolan is a medium-sized town located in Guangdong Province, southern China, and is one of China’s major industrial regions.

China has a crucial role to play in the global fight against climate change. In December 2009, as a participant in the Copenhagen Accord, China set a target to reduce its economy‘s carbon intensity by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 compared to 2005 levels. In response to this target, the Xiaolan Municipality Government is highly motivated to pursue low carbon development. The quantity of greenhouse gas emissions in Xiaolan, however, is unknown.

With this challenge in mind, the first project under the Xiaolan Low Carbon Initiative is to undertake a citywide GHG inventory. The Xiaolan Municipality Government has established a leadership committee led by the mayor and consisting of various governmental department directors to implement this work. WRI is acting as the technical lead and will provide support to the Xiaolan Government. By partnering with the Guangzhou Academy of Energy Testing and Inspection, and the Xiaolan Sustainability Service Center (a local NGO in Xiaolan), WRI will pursue thorough on-the-ground work that will consist of data collection, data analysis, and coordination with local agencies. The draft inventory result is scheduled to be announced by the end of September 2011.
Using the inventory results, WRI will develop a draft citywide GHG accounting tool for Chinese cities. The design of the calculation tool will be specifically tailored to suit the existing condition of data availability in China. Through past experience in designing and implementing the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard and with the recently published Draft Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard, WRI will make the first attempt to develop a citywide GHG inventory in China accounting for both direct and indirect emissions.

Subsequent to the pilot project in Xiaolan, the draft calculation tool will be piloted in other cities. Based on the experience gained, WRI plans to develop a citywide GHG accounting framework for China. The framework will help the Chinese municipality governments design low emission development (LED) policies and programs and prevent emission leakages based on a comprehensive assessment of direct and indirect GHG emissions. This project is an important step needed to harmonize all levels of GHG accounting - including the corporate, project, product, city, and sectoral levels.

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