written by
Sander Graumans

How To Update Your Emission Inventory

Climate Action 4 min read , January 27, 2021

For effective climate action, cities need to take data driven decisions to create and implement a climate plan.

  • This all starts with an emission inventory so it's crucial that it's created with accurate data and updated on a regular basis.
  • We discuss the challenges and benefits of keeping inventories updated, and tools available that can help in the process.
Keeping emission inventories updated is the basis for a climate plan.

With the rollout of vaccines just around the corner, we’re starting to see the light at the end of the ‘pandemic’ tunnel. We hear constant comparisons made between the COVID-19 crisis and climate change. But one British scientist has recently reminded us of one very real difference – “There is no vaccine for climate change”. In other words, solving the climate change crisis won't be easy. If there were a ‘vaccine’ for climate change, it would probably come from our cities. Emitting over 70% of the world's total emissions, our cities have the greatest potential to stop the spread of the climate change crisis. But it’s not easy, cities face many challenges when trying to mitigate and adapt to climate. One major challenge is actually knowing what a city’s emissions are! You can't cut what you don’t count - so creating emission inventory baselines and updating them regularly is key to tackling climate change in our cities.

An emission inventory: downsides of keeping them updated

Creating an emission inventory for a city is no easy task. In a city, emissions will come from a range of different areas including homes, mobility, and small businesses. Here are some of the top challenges that city teams face when updating emission inventories:

  • 💾 Lack of Data/Low Quality Data – When creating or updating an inventory, it’s likely some data will be missing or they will vary in quality. This constant challenge for city teams can be very frustrating. The key thing is to not succumb to ‘data paralysis’ and make changes based on the data that you do have.
  • 🤷 Finding Data – Emissions data will be typically buried away in excel sheets on the website of energy or transport departments. For city teams, the search for relevant data can seem endless.
  • Limited Resources – City teams short on staff will struggle to keep emission inventories updated. To update inventories on an annual basis, a significant dedicated time commitment will be required.

Benefits of keeping an emission inventory updated

Granted there are challenges, but if cities can overcome these, they will see many benefits to keeping an inventory up-to-date.

  • 📊 Monitor Progress – City teams will be kept informed of how they’re progressing against targets in the climate action plan. This will help in getting further support from stakeholders such as city mayors and politicians. Without up-to-date data, claiming successes on climate action is near impossible.
  • 🕵 Focus on Priorities – If some sectors don’t hit their emissions reduction targets, updated inventories will immediately make this information available. This enables city teams to redirect strong focus or investment on certain ‘problem’ areas.
  • 🤸 Engage Citizens – Citizens can access up-to-date information of emissions in their city and compare them to other cities. This can generate interest in climate action and healthy ‘competition’ between cities.

🚀 “Launch” your inventory update!

At Futureproofed, we recognize the challenges that cities face when creating and updating emission inventories. That’s why we developed Launchpad, a free tool to help city teams create and review current emission inventories and source the latest relevant climate data. LaunchPad is public to everyone, providing weighted emission inventories for 94,537 different areas in Europe. The free tool allows city teams to quickly visualize their city’s emissions over time. With emissions data broken down into different sectors, users get a clear picture of where progress is being made, and what areas need more focus.

🌖 One small step!

Creating a carbon emission inventory is the first step to reducing emissions and transforming your city. Once the inventory is set up, the creation and implementation of a climate action plan can take front and center. Creating an action plan is not easy but the FutureproofedCities digital tool is here to help cities take this giant leap! The tool allows city teams to easily set up a climate plan unique to their city, track it with the online tool, and collaborate with peers in other cities on climate action.

Sander is Futureproofed's resident marketing wizard. His goal is to get the word out about our expertise in helping cities and companies become future-proofed. When he's not deep-diving in data and strategy you can usually find him on his bike, in the kitchen, or playing video games.

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