City typology as the basis for policy

Towards a tailor-made approach to the benchmarking and monitoring of the energy and climate policy of cities

KPMG | 2010

The whole world is facing a major challenge of how to limit the effects of climate change. These days, there is little doubt that climate change is an important issue. Therefore, the main question now is how to address it. A noteworthy report with ideas and concepts.

Bernd Hendriksen, Director, Sustainability Advisory practice, KPMG in the Netherlands: “Addressing climate change is a shared responsibility requiring the joint support of citizens, businesses and governments. Cities occupy a key position in this respect. They house large populations and many businesses, generating a great deal of mobility, and are therefore major emitters of greenhouse gasses.

This also implies that cities have unique opportunities to develop an energy and climate policy that can significantly reduce these emissions. To achieve this, cities can mobilise the parties involved, create awareness and enforce specific changes through legislation and regulations. The range of issues to be addressed is virtually endless, from waste collection and industrial policy to car use in the inner cities and grant schemes for green energy.

“Cities are responsible for about eighty percent of the global energy consumption and half of the total greenhouse gas emissions (European Commission, 20081). Cities are therefore one of the key locations in the fight against global warming.”

Moreover, this also presents cities with opportunities: a city that successfully tackles this issue can raise its profile accordingly. In the near future, this will become an increasingly important way for cities to distinguish themselves.

Understandably, cities are already using the opportunities available to place the issue of climate change on a solid footing. Domestically as well internationally, numerous initiatives and tools have been implemented to measure the efforts, to benchmark and to share knowledge.

In this publication, KPMG Sustainability analyses and compares the impact of various tools and initiatives. One of our conclusions is that the landscape is cluttered, showing little uniformity or cohesion. We also conclude that initiatives are often not properly aligned to the specific characteristics of a given city and therefore do not invite a tailor-made approach. We have therefore made a number of suggestions for improvement. These are also based on the awareness that cities, particularly in the coming years, will require tailor-made policies that are designed to achieve optimal and sustainable results in a cost-effective manner.

Furthermore, requirements will become stricter. The Covenant of Mayors (a European Commission initiative for commitment by signatory towns and cities to go beyond the objectives of EU energy policy in terms of reduction in CO2 emissions) for example, is drafting stricter requirements with respect to reporting, and the European Commission will also keep a close eye on the energy and climate policies of cities.