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The Covenant of Mayors approach on building emission inventories

The Covenant of Mayors (CoM) methodology proposes a consolidated and flexible framework to enable local authorities, to produce robust inventories of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emissions and encourages a regular reporting of the implementation of their Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SECAP): at least every four years a full monitoring report containing a monitoring emission inventory should be submitted.

The Baseline Emission Inventory (BEI) sets the starting point and the subsequent monitoring emission inventories (MEI) allow monitoring progress towards the target. The approach is based on principles of simplicity of use, flexibility and policy relevance. The Covenant emission inventories serve as an instrument to support local action planning on energy. Therefore they are focused on emissions mainly associated with final energy consumption (including fossil fuels and renewable energies) in sectors which can be influenced by policies implemented by local authorities:

  • The BEI/MEI cover the CO2 (and optionally the CH4 and N2O) emissions due to final energy consumption in the local territory, for four CoM key activity sectors related to housing, transport and services, namely the “Municipal”, “Tertiary” and “Residential” buildings, equipment and facilities and the “Transport” sectors.
  • Energy-related emissions coming from other sectors might be included in the BEI/MEI, if the SECAP foresees measures for them (e.g. industry not under the European Emission Trading Scheme, highways not exploited by the city but on its territory). Some emission sources not related to energy consumption might be also included (e.g., wastewater and solid waste treatments), if mitigation measures to reduce these emissions are also included in the action plan (EU countries) or if these sectors can be considered as additional key activity sectors in a specific country/region (e.g., in CoM Southern Mediterranean Partner Countries).
  • Local energy production (electricity, heat/cold) is not an activity sector included in CoM BEI/MEI but the corresponding energy production and GHG emissions are accounted for in the calculation of indirect emissions from the local consumption of electricity and heat/cold. This encourages local authorities to implement actions aiming at reducing the CO2 emissions also from the supply side (e.g. development of the district heating network, photovoltaic systems, etc).
  • The Covenant has a certain level of flexibility that allows signatories when calculating their emissions to apply emission factors according to the standard (i.e., based on the carbon content of the fuel, as in the IPCC approach) or to the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach (i.e., also taking into account emissions occurring during the production and distribution phases). Moreover, they can opt for counting exclusively CO2 emissions or to include in their inventories and reduction target other Greenhouse Gases such as CH4 or N2O (expressed in CO2 equivalent).

For CoM EU signatories, the emission reduction target (at least 20% by 2020 and/or at least 40% by 2030) is set against the baseline year (BEI-based reduction target). It can be set either as absolute reduction or per capita reduction. The recommended baseline year is 1990, or the closest subsequent year for which the most comprehensive and reliable data can be provided. It is recommended not to use a baseline year later than 2005.

For CoM non-EU signatories (e.g., in CoM East and CoM South countries), some aspects of the CoM methodology need to be adapted. Notably, the emission reduction target might be set against the emissions in the baseline year or against their projections of emissions for the target year (2020 or 2030), following a Business-As-Usual (BAU) scenario (assuming that future development trends follow those of the past and no changes in policies will take place), depending on the economic development status of the country/region. Because BAU scenarios, such as the ones provided by the JRC, usually include population growth’s projections, a BAU-based reduction target can only be set as an absolute reduction.


Publications in support of the city emission inventories

CoM Guidebooks on how to elaborate the local emission inventories:

  • How to develop a Sustainable Energy Action Plan in EU Member States (2010) (Edition in 2018 in preparation)
    The 2010 CoM guidebook provides detailed step-by-step recommendations for the entire process of elaborating a local energy and climate strategy in EU countries. Part I relates to the description of the overall Sustainable Energy Action Plan process; Part II gives guidance on how to elaborate the Baseline Emission Inventory; Part III is dedicated to the description of technical measures that can be implemented at local level. The full guidebook is available in 11 languages: Bulgarian (български), German (Deutsch), Greek (ελληνικά), English (English), Spanish (español), French (français), Italian (italiano), Latvian (latviešu), Polish (polski), Romanian (română) and Slovanian (slovenščina).  Part II on emissions inventories is also available as stand-alone reports in English, Russian (русскийu) and Ukrainian (українська).
  • How to develop a Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) in the Eastern Partnership and Central Asian Cities-Part II Baseline Emissions Inventory Update of Emission Factors (2014) (Edition 2018 in preparation)
    The Part II guidebook on the building of local emission inventories in CoM Eastern partnership and Central Asian cities is available in English and Russian (русскийu). Update in progress.
  • How to develop a Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) in the Southern Mediterranean Partner Countries: The Baseline Emission Inventory (2013)
    The Part II guidebook on the building of local emission inventories in CoM Southern Mediterranean countries is available in English and French (français)

CoM 2020 and 2030 BAU scenarios:

  • Projection to 2030 for setting emission reduction targets in the Southern Mediterranean Partner Countries. An approach with a Business-as-Usual scenario (2017), available in English (en) and French (fr)
  • Projection to 2020 for setting emission reduction targets in the Southern Mediterranean Partner Countries. An approach with a Business-as-Usual scenario (2013), available in English (en) and French (fr)
  • An approach with a Business-as-Usual scenario projection to 2020 for the Covenant of Mayors from the Eastern Partnership (2012) available in English (en)

CoM Default emissions factors

  • Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy: Default emission factors for local emission inventories (2017) available in English (en)

Last versions of CoM default emissions factors and BAU emission coefficients, as well as their background documentation are also available under the “COM-EF” JRC data collection website (see below).

Datasets in support of the city emission inventories: the COM-EF data collection

The JRC “COM-EF” data collection consists of Emission Factors (EF) and Business As Usual (BAU) emission coefficients provided to the Covenant of Mayors signatories for the calculation of local Greenhouse Gas emission inventories (in CO2 and CO2 equivalent), using standard (e.g. based on IPCC factors) or LCA (Life cycle assessment) approaches. The collection includes CoM default EF for the calculation of direct and indirect emissions of GHG (CO2, CH4 and N2O) for the elaboration of the BEI/MEI inventories, as well as BAU coefficients for the estimation of 2030 local emissions in the CoM partnerships cities.

Version 2017 of COM-EF datasets includes:

The COM-EF data collection is regularly updated so as to contain all CoM default emission factors and BAU coefficients provided as open regional datasets for EU and other regions in the world, together with their background documentation.