Recognising technical expertise in cities to support transparency: the launch of a new certification

Recognising technical expertise in cities to support transparency: the launch of a new certification
10 November 2017

Recognising technical expertise in cities to support transparency – the launch of a new certification

Cities account for approximately 75% of global energy consumption and 70% of energy related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. These percentages are rising – driven by population growth and urbanisation. As increasingly recognised globally, cities provide some of the greatest opportunities to reduce or halt the continuing rise in CO2 emissions and will play a key role in delivering national commitments under the Paris Agreement.

Measuring emissions at the city level is a critical first step to managing global emissions and mitigating the effects of climate change. Events at the UNFCCC Climate Conference in Bonn this year (COP23) are further emphasising the role that cities can play in accelerating climate action, particularly in calling for greater integration of city and national data and actions in a harmonised and transparent way, to support the implementation of ambitious nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

In support of this, an exciting new certification programme, developed to build capacity in cities to take action on climate change, was launched at COP23 yesterday. The ‘Urban Greenhouse Gas Inventory Specialist’ credential, the first professional certification under the City Climate Planner program, aims to support city practitioners to enhance the consistency, comparability, and transparency of their city’s GHG data and actions, and recognise expertise.

Ricardo's Rose Bailey discusses the Urban Greenhouse Gas Inventory Specialist certificaiton programme at the official launch at COP23

Ricardo Energy & Environment is proud to have supported the World Bank and partners in the development of this certification, and to have sat on the panel for the official launch at COP23. The Ricardo team provided support to develop the content, an in-person training course, a handbook for trainers, and the administration of the certification. Our staff continue to act as ‘subject matter experts’ to the wider program, providing technical guidance and support. The certification is now live and being rolled out globally, and Ricardo already have four certified Urban Greenhouse Gas Inventory Specialists.

What is the City Climate Planner program?

The City Climate Planner (CCP) program aims to raise the global talent base of city climate planning professionals through a suite of professional certification programs. It is aimed at local government professionals, consultants, and any other academic or non-profit groups interested in tackling climate change at the local level.

The first certification focuses on community-level greenhouse gas (GHG) emission accounting, which is a key first stage in understanding a city’s emissions, prioritising emission reduction measures, and developing quality climate action plans. It is designed to build capacity amongst city climate planning professions to enable development of GHG inventories based on the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC), the most comprehensive global protocol for calculating and reporting city-scale GHG inventories. City Climate Planners must sit a rigorous certification exam to demonstrate a robust understanding of GHG inventories, integrated climate planning efforts, policy development and meaningful systems to measure progress towards achieving climate change mitigation and adaptation goals.

In the future, additional professional certifications that address other components of climate action planning will be developed under the CCP program.

What does the CCP program mean in practice?

The CCP program certifies that urban professionals are equipped to support local climate action planning, including developing GHG emission inventories, climate action planning, and climate adaptation planning. Professionalising these skills through the accreditation process will enhance the overall reliability and quality of inventories, climate action planning and policy development, enabling cities to enhance their contribution to global efforts in meeting the 2-degree goal under the Paris Agreement.

How Ricardo can support you with city climate planning?

Ricardo is a world leader in GHG inventories and climate action, at all levels. With four certified Urban Greenhouse Gas Inventory Specialists, who also contributed to the development of the CCP program design and training course, we are ideally placed to help, whoever you are. We can provide bespoke support in the following areas:

Tailored training courses

  • Capacity building and technical training to city environmental practitioners on the CCP content, ahead of the CCP certification exam
  • ‘Train the trainers’ courses, equipping organisations or individuals with the skills to deliver the training course around the world

Technical, hands-on support and quality assurance

  • We are not theoreticians or a training body, but we do this in practice. We can provide customised support during all stages of the GHG inventory compilation and projections process and can support you with our wide range of experience to tackle problems such as:
    • Addressing data quality issues and gaps
    • Setting up city measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) and management systems
    • Design, set up and embedding of management structures, tools and procedures to ensure a sustainable system.
  • We also offer a quality assurance service, conducting independent reviews of your inventory and climate reports to ensure compliance with the GPC, and requirements of other reporting initiative such as the Compact of Mayors.

Making your GHG data meaningful

  • GHG inventories are a vital evidence base, but are only the first step in the journey to climate action. We can help you use the outputs of your work in the best ways to meet your needs, providing support with:
    • Policy development and climate action planning
    • Goal, target and policy tracking
    • Modelling and data visualisation
    • Effective communication of inventory results and policy decisions to stakeholders

For more information about Ricardo’s city GHG expertise and experience, see