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American Cities Climate Challenge Technical Reviews


Start: April 2019
End: June 2020
Client or funder: Funded by the European Climate Foundation, for the benefit of the GCoM.


The American Cities Climate Challenge is an unprecedented opportunity for 25 ambitious cities to significantly deepen and accelerate their efforts to tackle climate change and promote a sustainable future for their residents. 

The Mission of the Global Covenant of Mayors (GCoM) is to serve cities and local governments by mobilizing and supporting climate and energy action in their communities by working with city/ regional networks, national governments, and other partners.

To achieve the ambitious targets of the Paris Climate Agreement, the Challenge is structured around two priority areas: buildings, which focuses on reduced energy use, increased renewable energy supply and building electrification and transportation, targeting reductions in vehicle miles traveled and electric vehicles.  Both priority areas are grounded in an effort to ensure equity and inclusion across city climate actions. 

American Cities Climate Challenge

Project Activity

To measure progress and identify greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction opportunities for each of the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge (Climate Challenge) participants, ICLEI USA developed or reviewed GHG inventories and emissions profiles for the Climate Challenge cities and provided recommendations for data collection, analysis, and integration with other Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM) activities.

ICLEI’s review of the 25 city plans and documents included the following elements:

  • Emissions reduction targets equal to or more ambitious than national targets
  • Plan formal adoption by mayor or council
  • Description of the stakeholder engagement process
  • Mitigation strategies and actions are described in detail for all GHG industry sectors
  • Climate adaptation is addressed; synergies between mitigation and adaptation addressed
  • Vulnerable populations identified 
  • Climate hazards identified and adaptive capacity assessed


City plans and documents reviewed by ICLEI: 25

ICLEI completed a GHG inventory for St. Louis, which became one of nine Climate Challenge cities to earn all six GCoM badges through their 2019 reporting. The other Climate Challenge Cities to receive all six badges in 2019 were Austin, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle, and Washington D.C.

ICLEI completed a GHG inventory for Saint Paul, which earned a 2019 GCoM inventory badge.

ICLEI developed or conditioned GHG inventories for nine cities: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Columbus, Denver, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Orlando, San Antonio, and San Jose. These inventories were readied with available data for GCoM reporting in the 2020 cycle.

ICLEI reviewed publicly available mitigation targets and plans as well as climate risk vulnerability assessments (RVA) for all participants against the GCoM Common Reporting Framework. Most of the reports were developed prior to the release of the Common Reporting Framework. As a result, ICLEI was able to provide both general and city specific recommendations for updates or new efforts of mitigation and RVA.

Those Involved

Atlanta, GA
Austin, TX
Boston, MA
Charlotte, NC
Chicago, IL
Cincinnati, OH
Columbus, OH
Denver, CO (City & County)
Honolulu, HI (City & County)
Indianapolis, IN
Los Angeles, CA
Minneapolis, MN
Orlando, FL
Philadelphia, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Portland, OR
Saint Paul, MN
San Antonio, TX
San Diego, CA
San Jose, CA
Seattle, WA
St. Louis, MO
St. Petersburg, FL
Washington, DC

“ICLEI has helped tremendously with San Antonio’s greenhouse gas inventories. The team consistently goes above and beyond to ensure that our staff understands the process at each step of the way, offering to write summaries, notate and keep track of changes, and attend meetings and briefings as needed. From transferring our 2016 data from CIRIS to ClearPath, to entering the raw data for 2019, and offering recommendations and best practices, the assistance that was provided to our city and community is truly invaluable.” – Minerva Defee is the Climate Program Manager for San Antonio’s Office of Sustainability.

“Having access to ICLEI’s staff and expertise through the American Cities Climate Challenge allowed Atlanta to complete more recent GHG inventories, have confidence in the quality of our data, and provide valuable education to our staff throughout the process. These GHG inventories are an incredibly valuable resource and tool to the City as we continue to push our climate action work forward.” – City of Atlanta’s Office of Resilience