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Tracking emissions and raising ambition with the Climate Footprint Project

21 June 2021, 11:25 BST 3 min read

Last month, a milestone celebration event was held for the Climate Footprint Project. It centred around emissions tracking and the policies, actions, plans and projects that it enables, as well as how it makes way for strategic decisions and raised ambitions.

State and regional governments are at the frontline of cutting emissions to meet regional and national climate targets. But, to meet these targets, they need to be equipped to measure and record their emissions, supporting and securing their ability to develop strategies, access funding and target actions. 

Because ultimately, you can’t manage what you don’t measure, and that’s why the Climate Footprint Project has been inspiring action on climate transparency and accountability in states and regions since 2018.

The project has provided direct support and training to Pernambuco (Brazil), Chhattisgarh and West Bengal (India), Baja California, Jalisco and Yucatán (Mexico) and KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa). This included technical assistance as well as knowledge sharing and dialogue facilitation between different levels of government to enhance emissions tracking capacities and abilities to make informed policy decisions that accelerate climate action.

At the event, we welcomed speakers from the Governments of Pernambuco, KwaZulu-Natal and Yucatán to share their first-hand experiences of the project. Professor Angel Hsu, PhD. Founder & Director of Data-Driven EnviroLab, also provided the keynote, sharing her latest research and insights into the role of non-state actors and subnational governments in ratcheting up the ambition of national governments.

During the panel discussion on the climate transparency approaches and objectives across states and regions, the government representatives emphasised the importance of accelerating towards net zero emissions and innovating to push forward the climate agenda. 

Inamara Mélo, Executive Secretary for the Environment and Sustainability, Government of Pernambuco, discussed the need for Brazilian states to carry climate ambition in the absence of federal leadership, and how the completion of the state inventory provided the basis to start developing a decarbonisation pathway.

“In these past years, Brazil has been on the wrong side of history in terms of deforestation and environmental degradation. And exactly this reality increases the responsibility of subnational governments which have taken up the challenge of guaranteeing climate action and complying with the Paris Agreement. In Pernambuco, we consider that we are doing our part... With the support of the completed inventory, and the Pernambuco Forum on Climate Change that participated actively in its construction, in this moment we are now able to elaborate our state decarbonisation pathway.”

Noloyiso Walingo, Director, Environmental Services, Department of Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs, Government of KwaZulu-Natal, spoke of using the baseline inventory created with the support of the project to advance climate action in the province.

“Energy is one of the key drivers of our economy and our GHG inventory identified it as a leading contributor to the province’s GHG emissions profile. This is why we’re prioritising a biogas pilot project that will carry benefit to low income households, involve private sector partnerships and result in the reduction of GHG emissions.”

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Diana Pérez Jaumá, Undersecretary of Planning for Sustainability in the Secretariat of Sustainable Development, Government of Yucatán, discussed the importance of its inventory to develop projects, programs and policies aimed at emissions reduction and decarbonisation, as well as the importance of international cooperation in order to encourage and validate the robustness and ambition of climate goals and actions.

“With the updated inventory, we will be able to update our Special State Climate Change Action Plan (el Plan Especial de Acción ante el Cambio Climático - PEACC) and, for the first time ever, we plan to establish a Climate Change Act for the State of Yucatán.”

Climate Footprint Project event (2)

The project has also recently concluded the first instalment of its Tracking to Action peer learning series, which saw state and regional governments learn about the ins and outs of setting up greenhouse gas inventories and improving emissions reduction efforts. The 10-part series welcomed over 450 participants from across 70 states and regions around the world, inspiring them to take action and use fit-for-purpose approaches in order to track and mitigate emissions.

Looking ahead, the Climate Footprint Project hopes to continue its work, which would see support offered to more governments to develop greenhouse gas inventories and improve their emissions monitoring and tracking capabilities. Keep an eye on the project’s webpage for the latest updates.

Click here to listen to a recording of the event.

Further resources developed through the project are available to access below: