Data4Cities is GCoM’s evidence-based foundational initiative to measure and manage cities and local governments’ climate ambition and progress. The smart use of data – big and small – will tell us how and why climate change is happening, inform local climate mitigation and adaptation strategies, and provide the evidence that governments, private sector partners, and citizens need to increase their support for local climate action.
Data4Cities lays the foundations for standardized data by streamlining – with consistency and transparency – how and what climate information from cities is collected, what data can be made available to support cities to act, alongside the mechanisms used to analyze this information.
Access to Data
GCoM cities, as part of their commitment, assess the current climate situation in their city by carrying out a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and a climate risk and vulnerability assessment [link to relevant resource] to provide insight into priority areas for climate action. Cities, however, have different levels of resources that can be directed towards monitoring their climate data. Data4Cities aims to strengthen all cities’ access to climate data, informing a city’s ability to understand their circumstances, areas for action, and impact over time.
Environmental insights Explorer
The Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE), launched by GCoM and Google, is designed to make Google’s significant data resources available to cities with the aim of accelerating measurement and planning stages for cities in favor of action. EIE can support cities in development of their emissions inventories by providing granular GHG emissions data estimates in four key areas: building emissions, transportation emissions, solar energy potential, and 20-year climate projections, as well as air quality, facilitating access to insights that can be used to act.
WRI Data Portal
The Data Portal for Cities, designed by GCoM and the World Resources Institute, helps cities unlock community-specific activity data and emission factors to develop greenhouse gas emissions inventories and fact-based climate action planning. The Data Portal for Cities helps communities by filling critical information gaps about their building, transportation, and waste sectors by providing previously unavailable data drawn from national and regional sources and making it freely available for city use.
GCoM has the unique ability to not only collect consistent and comparable data from cities worldwide but to collate, aggregate and help cities leverage the power of data to make their communities greener, more sustainable and climate-resilient.
Quality, Consistent and Transparent Data
With GCoM commitments supporting national governments to meet climate goals and build momentum for increased ambition quality, consistent, and transparent data is necessary to track cities’ contributions. Together with its partners, GCoM created the Common Reporting Framework – a harmonized reporting standard that allows signatory cities to quantify and compare their data with others. This globally consistent approach quantifies cities and local governments’ climate impact and – for the first time – does so in a way that is consistent with that of national governments. By uniting local voices and raising the bar on data transparency, Data4Cities helps promote the impact of city climate action, teach best practices, and improve technical and financial support for cities.
Data for Decision Making
Only with the right information can city leaders, policymakers, and investors make the best decisions to drive effective climate action. Data4Cities supports GCoM signatories to leverage this information by providing cities with access to high-quality data and tools, including to report their progress to demonstrate their achievements from commitment to implementation. Data4Cities is constantly innovating to leverage this vast data to allow cities and the partners who support them to learn from each other and gain new insights.
The latest data shows that cities and local governments are not only matching their national governments; more than three-quarters of GCoM signatories are going further by setting more ambitious targets, and more than half are acting faster by accelerating the rate at which they aim to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions3. A further 244 GCoM signatories are leading the way with net-zero targets, as are more than 1,000 cities and local governments who have signed up to the Cities Race to Zero.
Based on current targets and actions, GCoM cities and local governments could collectively reduce global emissions by 1.9 GtCO2e annually in 2030 compared to a business-as-usual (BAU) trajectory. In 2050, that figure is estimated to be 3.8 GtCO2e annually, comprising one quarter of total urban emissions abatement potential6. This is equivalent to more than half of all GHG emissions in the United States in 2019, or four years of CO2 emissions from global commercial aviation.
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