As we reported recently we’ve been speaking to councils who are now setting greenhouse reduction targets, renewable energy targets, energy efficiency targets and the most recent trend, science-based targets. This has occurred as councils have signed up to programs such as the international Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (formally called the Compact of Mayors) or state-based programs such as Victoria’s TAKE2 pledge, (based around keeping global temperature rise to under 2 degrees). Of course setting a target is meaningless if you can’t determine your baseline emissions.
Developing a corporate inventory is straight-forward enough. The success of a corporate inventory is based on good quality data (utility billing data, fuel cards and landfill data - if applicable) and using a recognised methodology should get you most of the way here. Having worked with many councils to complete inventories compliant with NGERS and the related NCOS protocol, we would strongly recommend councils develop a corporate inventory – at the very least to identify and prioritise opportunities for action. Do it yourself or get help, but most of all do it!
The Community GHG Inventory Data Challenge
As most of you will know the community inventory side of the equation has often been hampered by data limitations. Over the last 12 months Ironbark has been working with councils throughout Australia to collate data from traditional sources (such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES)) as well as directly from utilities, retailers, CSIRO and other state sources (for example around waste and transport) to develop community inventories compliant with the GPC or “Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories” developed by the World Resources Institute, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI).
This last point is pretty important, because GPC is the globally recognised reporting standard for councils and communities. You can download it here and read through it if you have a spare 4 hours or so, noting it’s a 180-page document outlining things like:
- Emissions accounting principles
- How to define inventory boundaries
- Reporting requirements
- Calculation methods
- How to track performance and manage an inventory over time.
These inventories have also been uploaded onto the Carbonn Climate Registry (cCR) reporting platform, the major reporting platform for councils reporting either through the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy and a raft of other local and international programs. Data reported through cCR contributes to the global reporting to the UN of accumulated local government action providing transparency to the community and sharing of solutions worldwide.
The GPC Community Emissions Inventory and Report Package
Having developed numerous GPC-compliant inventories for councils, we’ve identified and sourced relevant data for inventories that can be applied to any Australian council to achieve compliance with the protocol.
In addition, we have also had two of our senior staff certified last month as GPC greenhouse gas emissions inventory specialists through the World Bank’s City Climate Planner Certificate Program. Based on this knowledge, experience and sector feedback we’re offering Australian councils GPC-compliant community data packages. The package is more than just an excel spreadsheet with confusing numbers and data. The old adage that “you can't manage what you can’t measure” remains firm and is why an explanatory report will be compiled for each inventory to explain just what the data actually means. What’s more the platform will be “future-proofed” so you can use it again and again and again.
The package includes:
- A GPC-compliant inventory ready to be uploaded onto the Carbonn Climate Registry (cCR) reporting platform or inputted directly into cCR (excel format)
- An Activity Data spreadsheet with all the data and sources (excel format)
- A Community Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Report containing all of the information, references, activity data, assumptions, inputs, insights, charts, emission factors and other relevant data
- Assistance with Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy compliance (if applicable) and incorporation of broader Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy requirements within the inventory and Report.
- Independent verification by ICLEI Oceania to provide Council with confidence of a review of an independent body who has heavily involved applying the GPC through ICLEI's role as a founding partner for the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy and lead local initiator of the program in Australia, New Zealand and Pacific.
All calculations will be completed using non-proprietary methods and all data sources, assumptions and calculation equations and outputs will be made available to you. GPC “Notation Keys” and “Explanation Notes” will be included where relevant to ensure the inventory can be used and updated into the future by Council and/or other providers or consultants.
You’ll get all of this within 6 weeks of giving us the green light.
Something Else You Should Know
So in 6 weeks you’ll have a GPC-compliant inventory, Activity Data and a Report. This is very valuable. However this doesn’t end here. Over the next 12 months Ironbark will continue to work with partners, stakeholders and experts throughout Australia and internationally to improve on the robustness, accuracy and granularity of the data. So whilst your initial inventory will be guaranteed to be GPC-complaint we will continuously work to improve data sources and interpolation, which is what your councils will also benefit from updated data sources with:
- A second follow-up GPC-compliant inventory (and Activity Data) in 12 months’ time.
Yep. This package include another community GHG inventory in 12 months’ time so you can compare and take advantage of broader and more accurate data sources.In this sense we’re offering more of an on-going program than a once-off deliverable. You’re connecting with a program that is consistent at the national scale and in turn part of an international framework.
Our experience has demonstrated that the development of community GHG emissions inventories and council targets needs a national level approach. The development and adoption of GPC only reinforces this. There’s little benefit in a council-by-council or region-by-region approach to these challenges because GPC demands consistency across borders (for example in the treatment of transport emissions). On the contrary, if there is not a national approach and agreed-framework it can lead to double-counting or omission of greenhouse gases.
We don’t normally advertise costs for projects until we’ve spoken to councils. However this is a little different because of the programmatic nature of the work. So… click here and all will be revealed.
Ironbark’s mantra and mission is “real action” and we’re not going to lose sight of this. The development of an inventory is only the beginning it is not a means to an end. Ironbark have extensive experience in analysing and interpreting energy and emissions data for councils in a wide range of contexts and applications and we’ll continue to support councils in implementing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
The development of an inventory will however provide the necessary foundation and baseline data to set targets, develop action plans, define responsibility for action, engage other stakeholders to reduce emissions and track the community’s progress towards reducing emissions.
Jump on board if you want a GPC-compliant Community GHG inventory; Activity Data; Emissions Inventory Report; independent verification by ICLEI Oceania; and a second GPC-compliant GHG inventory in 12 months’ time!