By using this website, you consent to its use of cookies. Data Privacy policy | Cookie statement Confirm

ICLEI USA study identifies key factors driving greenhouse gas emissions changes in U.S. communities

Through initiatives like the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, thousands of cities worldwide are quantifying their greenhouse gas emissions and tracking progress through periodic greenhouse gas inventories. As a growing amount of performance data emerges, it is clear that data choices are important to maximize long term performance management and maintain data-driven mitigation decisions.

ICLEI USA has applied a new technique to understand the drivers of change in community emissions and inform data collection and management. The results are captured in a new report – “What’s driving changes in local GHG emissions? Results from Contribution Analysis ” – released today at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.

Key findings from the analysis are:

A cleaner electric grid and energy efficiency are important for offsetting growth and reducing emissions from commercial and residential electricity. State-level policies advancing renewable energy, combined with local, utility, business and individual action for energy efficiency can overcome growth and drive significant emissions reductions. 

State energy efficiency policies have a noticeable effect on changes in commercial energy usage. Local governments in states with a high energy efficiency policy score show per-employee energy use decreasing more rapidly than those in lower-scoring states.

Both more efficient vehicles and reduced vehicle miles per person are important for offsetting growth and reducing emissions from on-road transportation. In a majority of communities analyzed, improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency and reductions in vehicle miles per person are, taken together, sufficient to reduce emissions despite population growth.

Transportation emissions are more challenging than electricity emissions and more work is needed. While the overall trend is in the right direction, transportation emissions are not decreasing as rapidly as those from electricity, and emissions are still increasing in 37 percent of communities analyzed. More work is needed to address both vehicle miles per person and vehicle fuel efficiency or fuel switching. 

The results show that growth can be accommodated while effectively reducing emissions, despite the challenges. In the report, ICLEI USA underscores how important it is that greenhouse gas inventories place greater emphasis on documenting the context, moving beyond basic population, land area and GDP to cover more nuanced indicators around the built environment and economic activity.


Read the full report here and check other ICLEI USA publications.

  • News
Kaiser-Friedrich-Str. 7
53113 Bonn
T.+49-228/97 62 99-00 F.+49-228/97 62 99-01 Email:
European Secretariat
Leopoldring 3
79098 Freiburg, Germany
Brussels Office
Av. de Tervuren 35
1040 Bruxelles
Berlin Office
St. Oberholz ROS Team Room 4.02
Rosenthaler Str. 72a
10119 Berlin,
Africa secretariat
Physical address:
3 Knowledge Park
Century City
Cape Town
South Africa
Postal address:
PO Box 5319
South Africa
north america
Canada Office
401 Richmond St. W
Studio 204
Toronto, Ontario
M5V 3A8, Canada
Québec Office
Montréal City Hall
275 Notre-Dame St E
QC H2Y 1C6
British Columbia Office
Victoria City Hall
1 Centennial Square
BC V8W 1P6
USA Office
1536 Wynkoop St.
Suite 901
Denver, Colorado
USA 80202
Mexico, Central American and Caribbean Secretariat
Eje Central Lazaro Cardenas 13
Building Miguel Abed, Floor 5 Of. 506 and 507,
Col. Centro, CP 06050 Del.
Cuauhtemoc, Mexico City, Mexico
Colombia Office
Área Metropolitana del Valle de Aburrá
Carrera 53 N° 40A - 31
Antioquia – Colombia
ICLEI Argentina
Boulevard Gálvez, 1150 Planta Alta.
Santa Fe, Argentina.
South America
South American Secretariat
Rua Marquês de Itu 70, 14° andar.
São Paulo, SP, Brasil
CEP 01223-000
Colombia Office
Carrera 53 N° 40A - 31, Medellín, Antioquia – Colombia
ICLEI Argentina
Área Metropolitana del Valle de Aburrá
South Asia
South Asia Secretariat
C-3, Lower Ground Floor Green Park Extension New Delhi - 110016, India
Southern Center
Door No. 6-3-596/47/2
Sri Venkata Ramana Colony
Hyderabad 500 004
Andhra Pradesh
east asia
East Asia Secretariat
14/F, Seoul Global Center Building, 38 Jongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea (110-110)
Japan Office
1-14-2 Nishi-Shimbashi,
Tokyo, Japan 105-0003
Kaohsiung Capacity Center
4F. No.436, Daye N. Rd.
Xiaogang Dist.
Kaohsiung City 812
Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Korea Office
(16429) 3F, Suwon Research Institute,
126, Suin-ro, Gwonseon-gu, Suwon-si,
Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea
Beijing Office
B1010 Xiaoyun Center, No. 15
Beijing 100125,
southeast asia
Southeast Asia Secretariat
c/o The Manila Observatory Ateneo de Manila University Campus Loyola Heights, Quezon City 1101 Manila, Philippines
ICLEI Indonesia Project Office
Rasuna Office Park III WO. 06-09 Komplek Rasuna Epicentrum Jl. Taman Rasuna Selatan, Kuningan DKI Jakarta, 12960, Indonesia
Oceania Secretariat
Level 1, 200 Little Collins Street Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia
ICLEI World Congress 2018
Associate Partnership