In accordance with international protocols and directions, the APEC Energy Working Group has concentrated on constraining operational energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in cities across the Asia Pacific, especially from the widespread consumption of fossil fuels. In addition to economy level policies and recognising the different characteristics within the region, APEC has sought to take action at the town/city level via the Low-Carbon Model Town (LCMT) project, including the development of self-assessment tools and indicator systems. However, the “low carbon” landscape is changing. There is increasing recognition of embodied carbon, accompanied by the emergence of methods for its measurement, while the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group has recently highlighted the significance of consumption-based carbon. Similarly, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol for Cities (GPC) is likely to extend its ambit from Scope 1 GHG emissions, derived from energy use within a city boundaries, and Scope 2 emissions from grid-supplied electricity, heating and / or cooling, to Scope 3 emissions derived from materials and goods produced outside the boundaries of a city but associated with construction within that city. After describing these emerging approaches and the current landscape, the paper examines the significance and implications of these changes for APEC approaches, especially in relation to the LCMT project, its indicators and the varying characteristics of towns and cities within the Asia-Pacific region. Special attention is given to the built environment, which is known to be a major contributor to operational and embodied emissions. Consistent with the theme of the Asia-Pacific Energy Sustainable Development Forum covering “sustainable development of energy and the city,” a case is put forward for the current APEC approach to be extended to encompass both embodied and consumption-based emissions.

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