New global standard affecting local councils acting on climate

Nearly 30 Australian local councils, including Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart and Sydney, are likely to be affected by a set of new global recommendations drafted by the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, the world’s largest group of cities and local governments acting collectively on climate change.

The Global Covenant has released a draft of new recommendations that will streamline the way local councils around the world measure, compare and report their climate actions, including what they are doing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The draft document is the result of in-depth discussions among global experts and has now opened up for stakeholders’ review and comments.

Previously, local governments faced hurdles due to the different ways emissions were reported. The Global Covenant of Mayors hopes that harmonising the process will make it easier for councils to compare progress towards a low-carbon future, and ultimately help local governments around the world to collectively take even bolder action on climate change in collaboration with their communities.

However, while there is a strong argument for streamlining the reporting method, there are also risks that a single global framework will less easily be adapted to the circumstances of each local council. Therefore, it is important that the balance between uniformity and flexibility is reached and this can only be achieved with a thorough consultation process with stakeholders, principally local councils. All Australian local governments have a rare chance to help shape and contribute to a global standard, which will affect hundreds of millions of people for decades into the future.

The global alliance of local governments and cities has opened its doors and is seeking feedback on its new global reporting standard. Anyone can provide feedback and comment on the new recommendations, regardless of whether they are members of the Covenant. The proposed global reporting framework is relevant to any local council currently measuring or intending to measure greenhouse gas emissions in the future.

To provide feedback on the proposal, visit to complete a short survey before 15th June 2018.