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Carbon footprints of 13 000 cities

Moran, Daniel LU ; Kanemoto, Keiichiro; Jiborn, Magnus LU ; Wood, Richard; Többen, Johannes and Seto, Karen C. (2018) In Environmental Research Letters 13(6).
Abstract

While it is understood that cities generate the majority of carbon emissions, for most cities, towns, and rural areas around the world no carbon footprint (CF) has been estimated. The Gridded Global Model of City Footprints (GGMCF) presented here downscales national CFs into a 250 m gridded model using data on population, purchasing power, and existing subnational CF studies from the US, China, EU, and Japan. Studies have shown that CFs are highly concentrated by income, with the top decile of earners driving 30%-45% of emissions. Even allowing for significant modeling uncertainties, we find that emissions are similarly concentrated in a small number of cities. The highest emitting 100 urban areas (defined as contiguous population... (More)

While it is understood that cities generate the majority of carbon emissions, for most cities, towns, and rural areas around the world no carbon footprint (CF) has been estimated. The Gridded Global Model of City Footprints (GGMCF) presented here downscales national CFs into a 250 m gridded model using data on population, purchasing power, and existing subnational CF studies from the US, China, EU, and Japan. Studies have shown that CFs are highly concentrated by income, with the top decile of earners driving 30%-45% of emissions. Even allowing for significant modeling uncertainties, we find that emissions are similarly concentrated in a small number of cities. The highest emitting 100 urban areas (defined as contiguous population clusters) account for 18% of the global carbon footprint. While many of the cities with the highest footprints are in countries with high carbon footprints, nearly one quarter of the top cities (41 of the top 200) are in countries with relatively low emissions. In these cities population and affluence combine to drive footprints at a scale similar to those of cities in high-income countries. We conclude that concerted action by a limited number of local governments can have a disproportionate impact on global emissions.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
cities, footprint, MRIO, scope 3
in
Environmental Research Letters
volume
13
issue
6
publisher
IOP Publishing
external identifiers
  • scopus:85049781665
ISSN
1748-9318
DOI
10.1088/1748-9326/aac72a
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
c42285ae-fc1a-4164-82ce-dfed3a838c61
date added to LUP
2018-09-17 09:08:03
date last changed
2019-10-08 03:35:50
@article{c42285ae-fc1a-4164-82ce-dfed3a838c61,
  abstract     = {<p>While it is understood that cities generate the majority of carbon emissions, for most cities, towns, and rural areas around the world no carbon footprint (CF) has been estimated. The Gridded Global Model of City Footprints (GGMCF) presented here downscales national CFs into a 250 m gridded model using data on population, purchasing power, and existing subnational CF studies from the US, China, EU, and Japan. Studies have shown that CFs are highly concentrated by income, with the top decile of earners driving 30%-45% of emissions. Even allowing for significant modeling uncertainties, we find that emissions are similarly concentrated in a small number of cities. The highest emitting 100 urban areas (defined as contiguous population clusters) account for 18% of the global carbon footprint. While many of the cities with the highest footprints are in countries with high carbon footprints, nearly one quarter of the top cities (41 of the top 200) are in countries with relatively low emissions. In these cities population and affluence combine to drive footprints at a scale similar to those of cities in high-income countries. We conclude that concerted action by a limited number of local governments can have a disproportionate impact on global emissions.</p>},
  articleno    = {064041},
  author       = {Moran, Daniel and Kanemoto, Keiichiro and Jiborn, Magnus and Wood, Richard and Többen, Johannes and Seto, Karen C.},
  issn         = {1748-9318},
  keyword      = {cities,footprint,MRIO,scope 3},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {06},
  number       = {6},
  publisher    = {IOP Publishing},
  series       = {Environmental Research Letters},
  title        = {Carbon footprints of 13 000 cities},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aac72a},
  volume       = {13},
  year         = {2018},
}