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Interview Eric Copius Peereboom KPMG: climate change is not a minor issue for cities

A partnership between CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) made it possible to create a complete overview of GHG (Green House Gas) emissions in 42 cities all around the world. KPMG was involved to set up the report: ´CDP Cities 2011 - Global report on C40 cities´.

CDP already publishes an annual report on the GHG emissions of the 500 biggest companies in the world focusing on emissions, strategy and governance. The report describes  the risks and opportunities of climate change for cities. Firstly it describes how the municipality GHG emission looks like and secondly it describes the situation for the whole community. EMI spoke to Mr. Eric Copius Peereboom, one of the authors of the report and specialized in sustainability at KPMG.

What is the main aim of this survey?


Eric: ´The survey is a good first step in monitoring GHG emissions on a city-level and to stimulate the exchange of knowledge between cities.´

  • Large city governments are keeping pace with major corporations on greenhouse gas measurement and disclosure. 2 out of 3 responding cities measure and report their GHG emissions. This is only slightly lower than the equivalent metric for the ´Global 500´. This is a corporation of the 500 largest companies in the world. Eric: ´it indicates that cities do not see climate change as a minor issue.  For example, almost two third of cities that participated in the survey have set up a Climate Change Action Plan.´
  • Cities already notice the effects of climate change, for example global warming. Over 90 percent of disclosing cities identify themselves at risk due to climate change. And a further 43 percent report that they are already dealing with the effects of climate change in their areas.
  • Businesses in major cities could be at risk due to warming temperatures. Eric: ´for example the tourist sector suffers from global warming. A city like Las Vegas suffers from dryness due higher temperatures. This can be a huge risk for its tourist industry. And for a city like New Orleans it is more difficult now to attract new businesses due to the huge flooding back in 2005.´

 

Did you notice any differences between cities?


Eric: ´The overall participation in all continents was very satisfactory. Cities had 3 months to fill in the questionnaire. Especially policy makers and climate change coordinators filled in the questionnaire. Even 6 cities that were not a member of the C40 cities-network  chose to voluntarily report their climate-change related data to CDP. Regarding climate change policies there are also some  differences between cities. Some cities, like Chicago, Seoul, Berlin and Rotterdam are  real ´front runners´. They feel responsible and have a Climate Change Action Plan that includes ambitious goals.´

Which measures do cities take to reduce their GHG emissions?


Cities identify a wide range of measures to achieve their reduction targets, including physical, financial and behavioral measures. The most commonly identified activities are subsidies and fiscal incentives in order to reward the desired behavior. Cities also invest in climate neutral building standards. Retro fitting is also a measurement that cities use. This consists of replacing and adding new technics to old existing buildings to make them more energy efficient.

  • Adding value through city emissions data validation. In the private sector, data validation and verification is becoming fundamental for establishing credibility with key stakeholders.
    Few cities (24 percent) have their inventories externally verified or audited. Although verification is still at an early stage, the ability to call on verified data may provide government organizations with a powerful tool in their efforts to influence policies or regulations at other levels of government or to communicate with other community stake-holders, or even to qualify for international funding.
  • Improving and standardizing GHG measurement methodologies. Results show cities are using many different methodologies to guide them in their GHG measurement activities. City governments will benefit from coordinated efforts to standardize these protocols to make measurement of emissions easier, more transparent, and more comparable between cities.
  • Enabling financial forecasting related to climate change investment. City governments, like many entities, are struggling to put clear numbers on the investments needed to achieve their GHG reduction targets. Technical  assistance and private sector input might help cities to improve their ROI on climate change projects.
  • Creating better tools for city-level risk assessment. City governments are leading the way to analyze the risks from climate change in their regions. The international community can support these efforts by offering better tools, including specific risk assessment methodologies for urban areas.

 

If cities want to participate in next year’s survey. What should they do?

Eric: ´cities are welcome to participate in next year’s survey. They can already contact me at KPMG (CopiusPeereboom.Eric@kpmg.nl) or CDP (cities@cdpproject.net ).´

Community emissions reduction measures (% of respondents)

 

Diagram


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