Arming Cities to Tackle Climate Change

Categories: Infrastructure

Free, Openly Available Tool from Autodesk Enables Cities to Set Science-Based Climate Targets

By Emma Stewart, Ph.D., Head of Sustainability Solutions, Autodesk and Daniel Aronson, sustainability expert and formerly Sustainability Transformation Offering Lead, Deloitte Consulting

In December of 2013 Autodesk was honored with a #1 spot in the world’s first science-based ranking of corporate greenhouse gas (GHG) targets by Climate Counts.  The recognition was a result of Autodesk’s Corporate Finance Approach to Climate-Stabilizing Targets (“C-FACT”) methodology, which it adopted for its own operations, but also made publicly available in 2010 to spur other corporations to set  (GHG) targets grounded in climate science.

Autodesk, with support from global accounting firm Deloitte, is now releasing a version of the methodology tailored for cities, which represent the majority of global GHGs and are actively setting targets to reduce the emissions from within their borders. With support from Deloitte, as with the original C-FACT for corporations, the city version is a free, flexible, verifiable and transparent approach to greenhouse gas target-setting, that, most importantly, is grounded in climate science.

As with the original C-FACT for corporations, the C-FACT methodology offers city leaders a step-by-step method for calculating GHG reduction targets that are in line with scientific climate stabilization targets from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and in proportion to cities’ relative GDP growth. It seeks to offer a fair, verifiable, and flexible methodology that uniquely combines intensity and absolute targets for cities of varying sizes, GHG footprints, and growth prospects. It allows cities to align their targets with the reduction pathways recommended by the scientific community for stabilizing the climate, but also in proportion to their cities’ relative contribution to the economy. In other words, it is aggressive only to the degree needed to attain climate stabilization, not more, not less.

1Leading cities are beginning to track their GHG emissions through computer-aided analysis tools like this one, and C-FACT offers them a method for reducing those emissions at the pace needed to stabilize the climate.

We call on city leaders around the world to step into the global and national political leadership void by setting science-based climate targets, and hope that this C-FACT tool makes that easy and cost-effective.

Click the links below to hear a phone interview with Emma Stewart and Conor Riffle, CDP (an international, not-for-profit organization providing the only global system for companies and cities to measure, disclose, manage and share vital environmental information).

  • What’s the current state of cities setting targets related to sustainability overall, and greenhouse gases specifically?

    Question 1 CFACT podcast

  • How do you see the City C-FACT methodology and Excel spreadsheet tool helping city managers tackle the greenhouse gas emissions challenge?

    Question 2 CFACT podcast

  • Tell us about the mission of CDP (Conor) and the Autodesk Sustainability Solutions Team (Emma)

    Question 3 CFACT podcast

Click here for more general information, and to download the C-FACT spreadsheet tool for cities click here.  And click here for a video tutorial for beginners, and click here for advanced users. Or, contact us at


About the contributors to this post,

Emma Stewart, Ph.D., Head of Sustainability Solutions, Autodesk

Daniel 1

Daniel Aronson, sustainability expert and formerly sustainability transformation offering lead, Deloitte Consulting


Conor Riffle, Director of Cities and Data Product Innovation, CDP

* Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2007), “Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report: Fourth

Assessment Report”

** UNDP (2008), “Human Development Report 2008”