Although urban areas cover only 3% of the earth’s land surface, they are responsible for over 70% of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) from energy use. Cities are versatile, dynamic and complex. Therefore, implementations of low carbon initiatives at city scale are challenging and at times impractical. From the local administration perspective, the precinct scale represents a manageable operational scale for governance, urban planning and socio-technical innovations. There are various methods for quantification of GHGE at building, precinct, city and national scales, but few target the complexity and dynamics of the urban area, especially at the precinct scale. The aim of this paper is to identify a suitable quantification method for the precinct scale. The method should be able to determine the changes in GHGE due to implementations of low carbon policies and other strategies. This paper reviews the available methods for quantification of GHGE and highlights their challenges and limitations. Since urban areas need a system thinking approach, this review outlines how the methods analyse complex systems, such as System Dynamics (SD).