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California Governor's Office Recommends Using ICLEI's Community Protocol

by Don Knapp

ICLEI is thrilled to announce that the State of California's Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) now officially recommends that California local governments follow the Community Protocol when undertaking their greenhouse gas emissions inventories. The U.S. Community Protocol for Accounting and Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions is the first-ever national standard for how to measure and report the greenhouse gas emissions associated with communities.

ICLEI pioneered the development of this groundbreaking guidance, released in October 2012. The Community Protocol establishes requirements and recommended best practices for developing community GHG emissions inventories. A consistent national standard allows local governments to more easily develop high-quality GHG inventories and measure progress toward their emissions reduction goals and communicate results with their community members.

Read OPR's official announcement to local governments:

The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) is developing a climate action plan technical advisory (CAP TA), for the development of a community scale CAP consistent with the CEQA Guidelines Title 14 C.C.R. Section 15183.5 (Plans to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions). The CAP TA will include guidance regarding the development of an effective community scale climate action plan and will include a brief discussion of other mechanisms for addressing climate change at the local government level.


An essential component of a community scale climate action plan is the greenhouse gas emissions inventory. The Local Government Operations Protocol provides a standard for greenhouse gas inventories for municipal operations, but not for emissions at a community scale. In fact, until now, there has been no industry standard in the United States for developing a community scale GHG emissions inventory. To address this gap, OPR participated as a steering committee member and technical advisor for the United States Community Protocol for Accounting and Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions.


The United States Community Protocol has been completed, and now provides a standard for community scale greenhouse gas emissions inventories in California and nationwide. As such, OPR recommends use of the Protocol in local government planning efforts, and will also include this recommendation in future guidance documents and technical advisories. This advisory is not intended to apply to GHG emissions inventories that are currently in process.


OPR continues to work with the Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative (SEEC) and others to ensure the Protocol is effectively integrated into tools, both currently available and under development, for local government use in calculating community scale greenhouse gas emissions. OPR is developing more detailed guidance regarding use of the Protocol in other contexts, such as in development of a general plan or creation of a climate action plan.


If you have additional questions regarding this advisory, please contact Michael McCormick at


To obtain a copy of the Protocol or for more details on the Protocol please click here.

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