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Free Content Urban GHG inventories, target setting and mitigation achievements: how German cities fail to outperform their country

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Cities across the globe have conducted greenhouse gas (GHG) emission inventories and set emission targets as part of climate protection activities. Based on official information and questionnaire data from 40 cities, this study analyses local GHG inventorying and urban emission trends in Germany. All cities do inventories or are preparing inventories. Comparability of reporting data between cities is limited due to varying methodologies and frequency. Many cities have adopted ambitious emission targets. However, most cities in Germany do not use their GHG reporting and emission targets as meaningful GHG management tools: the majority of targets are not city specific and almost half of the cities do not report base year emissions. Urban mitigation performance is limited and correlated to the overall German mitigation performance: Eastern German cities clearly outperform Western German cities because of ‘wall-fall profits’ in the 1990s. No single Western German city is on course to reach its emission target. Regular emission reporting based on city-specific data and a uniform reporting format would enable cities to set realistic targets and control for target achievement. Other policy levels could provide funding, make reporting obligatory and collect cities' inventories in a common, comparable database. City networks could accompany this process.
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Keywords: GHG inventories; GHG management; Germany; cities; climate policy; emission reporting; emission targets; mitigation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2011

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