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SCATTER: Emissions Reporting Tool for Local Authorities

A Local Authority Solution for Climate Action

SCATTER – Setting City Area Targets and Trajectories for Emissions Reduction – is a user-friendly interactive greenhouse gas reporting tool that helps local authorities to assess, report on and reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that their area produces.

The web-based tool uses a wide range of national and local public data sets to provide quantified outputs, without local authorities needing to commit significant resources to collect data.

This free tool makes it easier for local authorities to meet the complex challenge of understanding and reporting on area-wide greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Report on authority wide emissions to carbon reporting frameworks and inform the setting of carbon reduction targets
  • Understand potential carbon reduction pathways and interventions to reach carbon commitments, in-line with national and international objectives.
  • Delivering visual outputs to engage stakeholders in the development of carbon reduction plans.


  • SSetting
  • CCity
  • A Area
  • TTargets and
  • TTrajectories for
  • EEmissions
  • RReduction

41 out of the 60 UK cities that disclosed to CDP this year used SCATTER

Local authorities can use SCATTER to build a detailed inventory of their area’s annual greenhouse gas emissions in order to identify their largest emissions sources.

A Climate Emergency

The launch of SCATTER follows the UK government’s climate emergency declaration in 2019. Since, hundreds local authorities across the UK have also made similar declarations and commitments.

As cities and city-regions look to reduce carbon emissions, working out what actions will have the greatest impact is a complex task. Turning those actions into a workable plan supported by stakeholders is equally challenging. This is where SCATTER comes in, helping cities to measure emissions, model scenarios, set reduction targets and take action.

SCATTER integrates five key technologies to deliver on carbon reduction: carbon capture, decarbonising heat, energy efficiency, electrifying transport and recycling infrastructure improvements and bio-energy.

SCATTER is used by over 320 local authorities in the UK

The SCATTER tool can also be used alongside the local authority carbon budget approach from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, which calculates climate change commitments for local areas aligned with the objectives of the United Nations Paris Agreement.

Disclosure to the CDP-ICLEI Unified Reporting System

SCATTER can be used to obtain the data for carbon disclosure, such as Climate reporting NGO CDP, where companies, cities and regions submit data on their environmental performance. By disclosing to initiatives like CDP, local authorities can better understand the scale of their impact on carbon reduction, as well as ways they can support crucial initiatives such as the UK’s 2050 Net Zero target and international Paris Agreement.

As of 2021, over 1,200 cities, states and regions have disclosed their environmental information through CDP.

Reporting into the CDP-ICLEI Unified System gives local authorities data-driven insights into their climate action. It allows local authorities to transparently track their progress, access best practice and share their data with networks like the Global Covenant of Mayors.

Comparing City Carbon Emission Tools

SCATTER and Google EIE

Some of the world’s biggest cities, including Rio de Janeiro and New York, have pledged to reduce their carbon output by 80 percent within the next 30 years.

One big question looms – how are they going to achieve this?

Only a small proportion of cities have completed and submitted an inventory of emissions, let alone monitored their footprint levels to check progress. Gathering carbon outputs for a whole city requires a huge amount of data from multiple sources – how is it possible to gather this much information to give an accurate emissions total?

Carbon Footprint Tool for Cities – Google Enters the Market

The Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE) from Google puts the Anthesis-developed SCATTER tool in the spotlight.

The Google Environmental Insights Explorer tool, created in partnership with the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, has been designed to give cities and local governments access to their current emission levels, so they can build a plan to reduce and measure emission levels.

Using data from Google Maps alongside standard greenhouse gas (GHG) emission factors, EIE estimates three city-level data points: building emissions, transport emissions and renewable energy potential (solar).

How is the EIE Tool Used?

The tool highlights the significant scale of city emissions and with it their role in being part of the solution. Using common methodology that can be standardised and scaled, it makes it easy for cities to benchmark their emissions against other cities. The tool will be used by city policymakers to develop clear plans of action to reduce their carbon emissions.

Comparing EIE and SCATTER

The SCATTER carbon footprint tool builds upon similar details provided by the EIE to allow cities to drill into the interventions; the areas of activity where the potential for carbon reduction lies.

Whereas Google looks at three main interventions (buildings, transportation and solar), SCATTER focuses on a comprehensive list of 45 interventions. Google helps to identify the scale of the problem, while SCATTER enables cities and regions to develop a picture of the solution by building up future reduction scenarios from detailed practical from detailed practical areas under a city’s control.

This supports local climate action planning and responses to the climate emergency, as well as allowing cities and governments to get an accurate handle of their current emissions and set carbon reduction trajectories and targets that are driven by a technology led approach. This leads to evidence based targeting setting and informed policy making.

Data Visualisation – Simple Interpretation of Complex Data

Not only is SCATTER supporting CDP submissions, it also has a range of standard outputs that can translated using the latest data visualisation software to support messaging and make it simple for policymakers and planners to explore future carbon reduction scenarios. Robust datasets are only as good as the user’s ability to interpret it, so ‘seeing’ the outcome of the policy decisions they may or may not decide to make is a crucial to simplifying complex data.

For example, a city could model the impact of improving energy efficiency in buildings via retrofit scenarios and new technologies to reduce heat leakage. Or a city could track how carbon capture storage will reduce emissions from industrial use and power generation before investing. Being able to see the potential impacts is a huge benefit for decision makers.

SCATTER Pathways

Local authorities can use SCATTER to build a detailed inventory of their area’s annual greenhouse gas emissions in order to identify their largest emissions sources.

In addition, a new feature called “Pathways” allows local authorities to explore different greenhouse gas reduction actions and enable the creation of reduction scenarios from which to develop their climate action plans for their area to 2050.

Pathways allow SCATTER users to select the level of ambition for a range of interventions and model different scenarios for their emissions reduction pathway to 2050.

Within each city-region, we’re also working with sector leads using the SCATTER tool as an effective and dynamic stakeholder engagement vehicle. We’ve spoken to leaders in commercial organisations, housing associations and domestic, transport, energy distributors, technology providers and academic institutions.

We’re really pleased to be part of the next phase of the project [Anthesis’ SCATTER city carbon footprint tool], aiming to increase the usability and accessibility of this free-to-use resource. We hope that SCATTER, with its city/regional inventory, carbon budget, reporting outputs and emission reduction pathway scenarios, will help support ambitious carbon reduction objectives around the country, such as Nottingham’s own aim to be carbon neutral by 2028.
Wayne Bexton
Head of Energy Services, Nottingham City Council

SCATTER is a collaboration between Anthesis Group, Nottingham City Council, BEIS, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Research at the University of Manchester.

WEBINAR: Responding to the Climate Emergency: SCATTER Updates and CDP Disclosure

Anthesis and CDP hosted this webinar to demonstrate how UK local authorities can use SCATTER to support climate action. It covered:

  • A deep dive into SCATTER, including the latest 2018 data that is now available, and how the tool can help local authorities to report on their climate impact.
  • The CDP-ICLEI Unified Reporting System and how disclosure can give local authorities data-driven insights into their climate action.
  • Insights from local authorities across the UK on how they have used SCATTER and CDP to support their climate action efforts.

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