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In 2002, when CDP first began inviting global companies to report their climate change-related information publicly, many were skeptical. Less than half of the companies responded, and the quality of the responses was, in the words of CDP’s first report, “highly variable.”

C40 cities, by contrast, have set a high standard in their first year of reporting. The results from the CDP Cities 2011 report showcase an encouraging movement by many of the world’s largest cities: to assess their liabilities, to act to reduce those liabilities, and to publicly disclose their progress and actions.

The results evince a strong start but also indicate a number of areas where cities need more support. National governments, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector can all work to help cities by:

• Improving and standardizing GHG measurement methodologies. Results show cities are using many different methodologies to guide them in their GHG measurement activities. City governments will benefit from coordinated efforts to standardize these protocols to make measurement of emissions

easier, more transparent, and more comparable between cities. Much work is already underway to improve these protocols by various bodies.

• Accelerating development of robust data management software. The spreadsheet is the tool of choice for tracking and managing emissions, and it may remain this way for some time. But as more robust software tools for managing GHG emissions emerge, city governments will have more options from which to choose.

• Enabling financial forecasting related to climate change investment. City governments, like many entities, are struggling to put clear numbers on the investments needed to achieve their GHG reduction targets. Technical assistance and private sector input might help cities to improve their ROI on climate change projects.

• Creating better tools for city-level risk assessment. City governments are leading the way to analyze the risks from climate change in their regions. The international community can support these efforts by offering better tools, including specific risk assessment methodologies for urban areas.

• Adding value through city emissions data validation. In the private sector, data validation and verification is becoming fundamental for establishing credibility with key stakeholders. An emerging number of cities indicate that all or part of their emissions data (city government operations and / or city-wide emissions) is verified to some degree.

Climate change is the greatest challenge of this century, and cities have a front-row seat. Each city will meet the challenge in different ways, as befits its individual circumstances. By arming cities and their stakeholders with high-quality data, CDP strives to make the challenge a little bit easier to overcome.

35 © 2011 Carbon Disclosure Project

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