The CURB Tool: Climate Action for Urban Sustainability

September 22, 2016

With the bulk of energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions emanating from urban areas, cities have a key part to play in combating climate change. By reducing their environmental footprint, cities will not only lower their contribution to global GHG emissions, but can also enjoy significant local benefits such as improved air quality, better health outcomes, local economic development and job creation. CURB is an interactive tool that is designed specifically to help cities take action on climate by allowing them to map out different action plans and evaluate their cost, feasibility, and impact.

CURB’s key features

  • City-specific: CURB uses local city data to provide tailored analyses that will help cities evaluate low carbon actions. In case there are some data gaps, a common problem in many cities, CURB provides alternative data that can be used from comparable cities, countries or regions
  • Requires minimal training: CURB’s intuitive and user-friendly design allows city officials to rapidly assess more than 50 low carbon investments with little guidance
  • Designed by experts: CURB is based upon modeling approaches and assumptions developed by world class engineers, economists, and planners.
  • Free and accessible: As an Excel-based tool, CURB can be used offline and allows for transparent modeling. Cities can use CURB at no charge with technical support available upon request.
  • CURB has been adopted by major city networks: CURB has been developed in partnership with the C40 Cities Leadership Group and is now embraced by the Compact of Mayors, which includes hundreds of cities


Click here to view an infographic on CURB. 

World Bank Group

Planning climate action in 5 steps

  1. Setup is where you enter basic data about the overall situation in your city and specific sectoral profiles. This information is then used repeatedly throughout CURB to help make different calculations.
  2. Inventory converts the information provided in the Setup module into estimates of which sectors create the greatest energy demand and GHG emissions and how this situation may change over time. You also have the option to set future reduction performance targets against which progress can be measured.
  3. Context allows you to understand the drivers of emissions and energy demand in your city. You can also compare your city with other cities across a range of key performance indicators.
  4. Actions is the heart of the tool. This module allows you to select which sectors you would like to target based on: a) your city’s authority to take action in each sector and b) a rapid assessment of the maximum impact potential and implementation feasibility of every intervention in CURB. This is intended to help users decide which interventions are worthy of further exploration. Users are then given the opportunity to craft a scenario, customizing and bundling different interventions into a comprehensive plan. Detailed cost and impact assessments are calculated based on information you provide about the anticipated deployment level of each intervention. At any time, you may go back and change the options which you have selected, either to drop or add interventions or to change the anticipated deployment rate that will ultimately be achieved.
  5. Results shows you the combined impact of your selected interventions on urban GHG emissions, local energy demand, and spending levels. In this module, you will also see how successful different scenarios are in delivering your emission or energy demand reduction targets.


What training is available for CURB?

The CURB team is available to provide trainings and technical support upon request. Please email for more information.

Available online resources include:


How and where is CURB being used?

CURB is being used by cities globally in a number of ways including for the following purposes:

  • Developing city climate action plans
  • Evaluating vendor bid proposals to assess the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly plans
  • Prioritizing investments within a particular sector or across multiple sectors
  • Understanding realistic energy-use or emissions targets for the city
  • Creating and optimizing plans based on cost constraints, energy-use objectives, or emissions targets

Cities where CURB is being used include:

  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Quito, Ecuador
  • India (multiple cities)
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Bangkok, Thailand


How can I access CURB?

Please register to download the tool at this link and refer to the public license here. Provide any feedback you may have to improve the tool via this form and email with remaining questions you may have.


How was CURB developed?

CURB: Climate Action for Urban Sustainability was developed by the World Bank in partnership with AECOM Consulting, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. The tool has benefited from an advisory committee of more than 30 World Bank staff and technical experts from private consultancies and civil society organizations who provided feedback at critical points throughout the design process.

The CURB team thanks data partners including the International Energy AgencyLawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and The International Council on Clean Transportation.

Financial resources for this project were generously provided by the World Bank Group, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.