Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the atmosphere produced by anthropogenic activities and the consequent global warming represent a real challenge that requires the enhancement of adaptation and mitigation measures at national, regional and local level. Locally the LAKS project had the general objective of demonstrating the cities’ potential in grasping opportunities and creating synergies to actively contribute to the achievement of the Kyoto Protocol goals as well as of the targets of the EU 2020 policy package on climate change and renewables.
The project has involved four European municipalities: the Municipality of Bydogsozcz (Poland), the Municipality of Girona (Spain) and the Municipalities of Padua and Reggio Emilia in Italy.
Local authorities and specifically the municipalities as the direct representatives of the citizens are key players to improve the implementation of the policies to fight climate change, implement local actions and manage incentives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions on the territory. Furthermore they ensure that the proposed activities take into account the citizens’ health and well-being and that their communities can enjoy the benefits arising from the projects.
This characteristic is well-understood also by the Covenant of Mayors initiative, launched by the EU in 2008, seeking to reduce GHG emissions at local level by at least 20% within 2020.
The main objectives of the project were:
- contributing locally to the targets included in the EU climate policy package, emphasizing the principle of subsidiarity of local authorities;
- providing the local authorities with the tools and resources to facilitate the introduction of GHG emission reduction targets into the municipal policies;.
- developing a standard method to assess the impact of the policy measures on emissions;
- increasing transparency and accountability within local authorities, mainly on environmental issues and GHG emissions.
Taking into account the above objectives, LAKS has been designed both to promote the integration of policies to fight climate change into the decision making process at local level and to enhance the municipalities’ responsibility in contributing to solve a global environmental problem through a “glocal” approach. The proposed actions must be transversal and must involve all public authority sectors to be effective. This approach implies greater complexity in coordinating and monitoring the taken initiatives, also according to economic resources allocation. In order to overcome these hurdles a commitment of the municipalities and the adoption of specific implementing strategies are required. For this purpose the project has set out a range of planning and implementing tools to facilitate the assumption of responsibility by the authorities with regard to climate change issues.
Fasi del Progetto
The main actions carried out within the project were:
- International review and analysis of the methodologies and different tools useful for the definition of a “Local accountability system for climate” through the collection of information on the main GHG emissions calculation methodologies; collection and critical analysis of the main tools and systems for environmental management and accountability;
- Audit and road map towards the “climate accountability” system. For each City partner an internal audit has been realized aimed at analyzing the starting conditions and the specific strengths and weaknesses of each local authority; successively a road map has been developed containing key recommendations for the integration of a climate strategy into the local policies The process for the definition of the “climate accountability” system has been distinguished in 4 main steps, all aimed at supporting the local authorities to develop specific tools useful for the achievement of the project results:
- Development of a local inventory of the main GHG emissions generated at local level. The GHG Emissions Inventory represents the baseline on which a Mitigation and Adaptation Plan (MAP) defined the municipality’s emission reduction target;
- Development of a Multi criteria local policies assessment in order to identify the actions to be implemented under the MAP with the aim of: evaluating the local environmental and socio-economic impact, linked to the implementation of policies and interventions to be included in the MAP; supporting the authorities to select the most efficient interventions; driving the path from the inventory to the implementation of the plan by helping municipalities in evaluating the different possible options by taking into account environmental, social and economic impacts; developing a database of possible policies to reduce CO2 emissions at local level;
- development of the MAP involving municipality’s different sectors in understanding what they can do to reduce GHG emissions at local level;
- realization of the climate balance, a monitoring system developed by the LAKS project order to yearly evaluate the state of implementation of policies included in the MAP and consequent results obtained.
- implementation of the project activities at local level in the municipalities of Reggio Emilia, Padova, Girona, Bydgoszcz.
LAKS has developed a model for the detection and measurement of GHG emissions, as well as for the planning of interventions for climate change mitigation and adaptation , a model which can be used also by other municipalities committed to fight climate change.
Moreover the project performed 4 case studies in 4 Municipalities Reggio Emilia, Padua, Girona, Bydgoszcz. These contributed to provide the municipalities with a toolkit suitable to develop a local climate strategy and the MAP. A technical support for the design and the realization of the “climate accountability” system was provided by the Regional Environmental Agency (ARPA) of Emilia-Romagna.
Tools and methodologies for GHG accounting are available in 4 languages (English, Italian, Polish, and Spanish) and can be download from project website. These comprise:
- the “LAKs Local Government Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Manual”, which provides the municipal staff with suggestions and instructions to develop properly the LAKs Emissions Inventory Tool as well as the Analysis of the territory’s emissions (both useful tools to provide information to the municipalities concerning the development of a GHG emissions reduction strategy). Local government staff do not need to be “climate expert” to use the Inventory Tool. The working tools related to the emissions inventory are: a GHG Emissions report, one of the main deliverables developed to account the GHG generated by the municipality in order to build a baseline to formulate reduction strategies. The report is also useful to inform internally and externally about the municipality’s major emission sources. Each of the 4 Municipalities involved in the project (Reggio Emilia, Padova, Bydgoszcz, Girona) developed an own GHG report. The Calculation tool of the GHG emissions inventory (one for each partner country) which allows to easily calculate the local emissions, distinguishing between activities carried out by the municipality (with reference to public buildings, public vehicle fleet, street lighting, water and wastewater facilities) and by citizens (divided in residential, commercial, industrial, transportation and waste sectors);
- Guide for Multi criteria assessment of local policies for the identification of the most efficient actions to be implemented under the MAP with the aim of evaluating the local environmental and socio-economic impact, linked to the implementation of policies and interventions to be included in the MAP; supporting authorities to select the most suitable interventions; driving the path from the inventory to the implementation by helping municipalities in evaluating different possible options taking into account environmental, social and economic impacts; creating a database of possible policies to reduce CO2 emissions at local level. Two related implementing tools have been developed: Multi criteria policy assessment and the Munti criteria policy assessment report;
- Guide for developing the MAP with the objective to assist the municipality in: developing a plan that includes all interventions capable to reduce GHG emissions at municipal level; involving municipality’s different sectors in understanding what they can do to reduce GHG emissions at local level; setting targets and specific responsibilities to facilitate the monitoring of the results. The tools related to the MAP development are: MAP draft tool; GHG Emissions Reduction Methodologies and Good Practicies; Mitigation and Adaptation Template; MAP presentation tool.
A MAP was designed for each City partner (Reggio Emilia, Padova, Bydgoszcz, Girona). Each MAP defines how the municipality intends to reduce the GHG emissions on its territory and identifies the fields of intervention to adapt the City to climate change;
- Guide for developing the climate balance, a tool to support the realization of a monitoring system which can be filled out yearly in order to ensure a continuous accountability process and integrate the municipalities’ MAP in the decision making process. A Climate balance format has been also provided on the project website.