Introduction to Scoring
The CDP Scoring Methodology is designed to incentivize jurisdictions’ transition towards resilience and net-zero through equitable environmental action. The scoring process is a valuable opportunity for jurisdictions to get feedback on their climate and environmental planning. Jurisdictions can use their score to benchmark their progress against others and to identify areas to improve on.
To receive scores which accurately reflect a jurisdiction’s climate and environmental actions, it is important that the questionnaire is answered as thoroughly as possible. Any actions or plans that are not reported within the questionnaire will not be reflected in the score.
Scores remain private to jurisdictions, but CDP recognizes leadership in climate action by highlighting those who receive an A score through an international media campaign.
CDP scores responses submitted in all languages. Responding in English is not a requirement to be on the A list and the language of submission will not impact a jurisdiction’s score.
Key changes to the 2023 Scoring Methodology
The new 2023 Cities Questionnaire
The questionnaire has been stabilized this year in relation to the number of questions and data points asked for. It still aims to reduce the reporting effort of jurisdictions and to focus on the most important data points for climate action. The questionnaire is aligned to a global network of initiatives such as the Race to Zero, Race to Resilience, ICLEI initiatives, Global Covenant of Mayors, WWF’s One Planet City Challenge and NetZeroCities. By reporting to CDP-ICLEI Track jurisdictions fulfil their commitments as part of these initiatives. The questionnaire is also aligned to the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). By reporting to CDP-ICLEI Track, this can help jurisdictions attract climate finance and allow projects to be climate finance ready for investors.
Three questionnaire pathways are present to reflect the different contexts of local governments and to streamline reporting. This enables reporting to a core set of questions for all jurisdictions and additional questions only where relevant and valuable. (Note C40 cities are presented a standardized questionnaire therefore questionnaire pathways are not applicable to C40 cities).
In 2023 the scoring methodology will only assess questions in Pathway 1. These include the data points requested by all jurisdictions and therefore, all jurisdictions will be scored on the same data points and with the same scoring criteria. Any additional data points/questions presented in Pathway 2 or 3, or any project-specific data points/questions will not be scored.
The 2023 CDP Score will therefore reflect action on the core questions on climate change mitigation and adaptation in the areas of governance, assessment, planning and actions with some detail on sector metrics.
Reflecting the stabilization of the questionnaire, the Scoring Methodology has also remained stable in 2023, continuing to align with the imperative to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change. Criteria across all scoring bands have been streamlined to enhance useability of the methodology while still highlighting the increased climate action needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
One key change to the methodology in 2023 is a stronger move towards science-based targets, incentivizing jurisdictions to set goals addressing climate-related hazards, and target progress check.
Scoring bands and thresholds
Jurisdictions are assessed across four scoring bands which represent the steps jurisdictions move through as they progress towards climate leadership. The bands are:
- Disclosure (D- or D): A jurisdiction in the Disclosure scoring band has just started the journey of understanding and reporting on climate impacts. These jurisdictions understand the value of collecting data to drive climate action but may not have structures or resources in place to obtain the necessary information. Jurisdictions in the Disclosure band report on the degree to which climate impacts and risks have been measured.
- Awareness (C- or C): A jurisdiction in the Awareness scoring band is in the process of assessing the main risks and impacts of climate change. These jurisdictions have begun developing an assessment and measuring impacts to get a holistic understanding of the main effects climate change has on their jurisdiction and are beginning to take action to reduce them.
- Management (B- or B): A jurisdiction in the Management band has managed to gather data on the main risks and impacts of climate change and is taking action to adapt to and reduce these effects. These jurisdictions have worked collaboratively with key stakeholders to understand their risks and impacts and now have plans in place to mitigate and/or adapt.
- Leadership (A- or A): A Leadership jurisdiction demonstrates best practice standards across adaptation and mitigation, has set ambitious goals and made progress towards achieving those goals. Jurisdictions in the Leadership band have strategic, holistic plans in place to ensure the actions they are taking will reduce climate impacts and vulnerabilities of the people, businesses, and organizations in their jurisdiction.
To progress from one level to the next, jurisdictions must pass the threshold at each scoring band. For example, a jurisdiction must receive enough points in the Disclosure band to pass the threshold before they will be scored in the next scoring band - Awareness. Jurisdictions do not need to meet every criterion listed to pass the threshold of a particular scoring band. However, the more criteria they meet, the higher the chance that the jurisdiction will be able to earn enough points to surpass the threshold and be scored in the following band.
CDP provisionally sets the thresholds and these will be reviewed during the scoring period to ensure that the distribution of responses among scoring levels is representative of the current level of progress in the responding population as a whole. CDP reserves the right to adjust these thresholds at any point prior to the release of scores in order to best represent the overall state of progress of cities.
Awareness, Management and Leadership bands have essential criteria which must be met to receive a score within those bands. For example, regardless of whether all other criteria are met:
- To achieve an Awareness score, Awareness essential criteria must be met;
- To achieve a Management score, Awareness and Management essential criteria must be met;
- To achieve a Leadership score, Awareness, Management and Leadership essential criteria must be met;
- To achieve an A score, Awareness, Management, Leadership and the additional A List essential criteria must be met.
Jurisdictions should ensure that they have attached all essential criteria documents before submitting their response to the 2023 questionnaire to receive a score which truly reflects their planning and actions.
Essential criteria for 2023
The only change to the essential criteria for 2023 is to the A list essential criteria. In 2023, jurisdictions are required to report BOTH a long-term and mid-term science-based target to score an A.
Awareness essential criteria
To score at least a C- or C, jurisdictions must:
- Report a climate hazard in question 1.2
- At least be intending to undertake a climate risk and vulnerability assessment in the next two years in question 1.1
- Have a community-wide inventory and attach or provide a weblink to their inventory in question 2.1a
- Have either an integrated climate plan OR a standalone mitigation plan OR a standalone adaptation plan and attach or provide a weblink to the plan in question 7.1a
- Have a climate risk and vulnerability assessment and attach or provide a weblink to the assessment in question 1.1a
- Have a fully reported adaptation goal in question 4.1a
- Have a fully reported emissions reduction target in question 5.1a
- Have either an integrated climate plan, OR a standalone mitigation plan AND a standalone adaptation plan and attach or provide a weblink to the plan in question 7.1a
- Demonstrate leadership in target setting by reporting targets aligned with the latest science on limiting the most harmful impacts of climate change. A science-based target should include both a long-term net-zero target (by 2050) and a mid-term target that is aligned with a fair share of limiting global warming to 1.5˚C. In 2023, jurisdictions are required to report both a long-term and mid-term science-based target to score an A.
- Submit their response publicly
- Note that stricter criteria for attachments may be introduced in future years
- One overall letter score indicating the overall level of climate disclosure and performance as assessed by the information provided in the response;
- One Adaptation letter score indicating the level of climate disclosure and performance as assessed by the information provided in the response to questions falling under Adaptation;
- One Mitigation letter score indicating the level of climate disclosure and performance as assessed by the information provided in the response to questions falling under Mitigation.
Management essential criteria
To score at least a B- or B, jurisdictions must:
Leadership essential criteria
To score at least an A-, jurisdictions must:
- Fully reported means: adaptation goal, climate hazard that goal addresses, target year of goal are all complete and target year of goal is in the future.
If the target type is Base year emissions (absolute); Base year intensity; or Baseline scenario:
- Fully reported means: target type, boundary of target relative to jurisdiction boundary, are carbon credits currently used or planned to be used to achieve this target, base year, target year, percentage of emissions reduction, and net emissions in target year are all complete and target year is in the future and boundary of the target relative to the jurisdiction boundary must be “same” or “larger”.
If the target type is Fixed-level:
- Fully reported means: target type, boundary of target relative to jurisdiction boundary, are carbon credits currently used or planned to be used to achieve this target, target year, and net emissions in target year are all complete and target year is in the future and boundary of the target relative to the jurisdiction must be “same” or “larger”.
A list essential criteria
To score an A, jurisdictions must:
Scores jurisdictions will receive in 2023
Jurisdictions who submit a response to the 2023 Cities Questionnaire before the scoring deadline will receive:
The table below specifies which sections of the questionnaire are assessed in either the Adaptation or Mitigation sub-score.
|Section of the Questionnaire
|Inclusion in Sub-scores
|Both Adaptation & Mitigation
|Climate Risk and Vulnerability
|Public Health Data
|Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
|Climate Action Planning
|Both Adaptation & Mitigation
|Both Adaptation & Mitigation