A Guideline for the Development of a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory for Municipalities

A step by step description on how to develop a carbon footprint


For proper measurement and management of local government’s impacts on climate change and to develop an effective mitigation strategy, a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory (GHGEI) should be developed. In essence a GHGEI is a snapshot of the GHG emissions resulting from the activities undertaken by a municipality or within the control of a municipality over a specific period. It is commonly referred to as a ‘carbon footprint’ and expressed in tCO2e/year.


The overall aim of a GHGEI is to manage and monitor the impact that mitigation activities have within the municipality on the carbon footprint over time. When considering an emission reduction target from the GHGEI in the baseline year, it is important to consider that the systemic development of the footprint over time is taken into account to be able to distinguish changes to the footprint resulting from targeted emission reduction efforts from the ‘natural’ movement of the footprint.