Nav: Home

City-level action is the right way to tackle emissions, study shows

June 27, 2018

Countries seeking to meet Paris Agreement targets on CO2 emissions must get a grip on the amount of pollution produced at city level, according to researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

In a new study, published in Science Advances, the researchers set out a framework for gathering and analysing local information about how cities contribute to pollution levels, and show how these insights could be used to target climate mitigation initiatives most effectively.

Using China as a model, the team has compared emissions data from 180 cities across the country, looking at the industrial make-up of each city, its socioeconomic profile, and the types of energy produced and consumed.

The researchers used the data to classify cities according to different levels of industrial development and worked out the potential for emission reduction amongst the different groups. Energy-producing cities, and cities with lots of manufacturing, have higher CO2 outputs than high-tech and service-based cities.

By modelling a range of different economic development scenarios, the researchers showed how policy-makers could understand which cities could make the biggest difference in terms of reducing emissions, and could make meaningful decisions about where to target reduction initiatives within a city.

For example, by identifying the worst factories or plants for emissions - the super-polluting units within an economic area - it would be possible to improve them with new, cleaner technology, cutting emissions without major economic disruption.

Prof Dabo Guan, professor of climate change economics at UEA, led the research, along with Dr Yuli Shan from UEA's School of International Development.

Prof Guan said: "Everything practical that you would need to do to reduce emissions happens at a city level.

"You can demand that the country cuts CO2 production by 60 per cent, but to do this successfully you need to have a good idea of how to cut pollution at a local level without devastating local economies. Rather than creating low-carbon pathways at a national level, we need a pathway for each city.

"Our study shows that by targeting the top 5 per cent of polluters in each city, it would be possible to reduce national emissions by 30 per cent. That would be achievable without creating conflict between the need for economic growth and socioeconomic stability, and environmental protection."

The data used in the study was gathered by a team of researchers working on the Chinese Emissions Accounts and Datasets programme (CEADS, http://www.ceads.net). Over the past three years, experts from the UK, USA and China have worked with local researchers to build increasingly sophisticated datasets on Chinese emissions.

Prof Guan said: "The data we have published is not necessarily accurate in absolute terms and requires further verification by the public and local authorities, but it provides a benchmark on which local governments can build and use in their decision-making as they plan low carbon pathways to include actions that are both practical and feasible."

China was used as the model for the research because it is one of the largest developing countries in the world, tackling some of the biggest pollution challenges. The model could also work successfully for other countries, however, and researchers are already considering how to assemble data for developing countries in Southeast Asia such as Vietnam, Thailand and Laos.
-end-
The research was funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

'City-level climate change mitigation in China', by Yuli Shan, Dabo Guan, Klaus Hubacek, Bo Zheng, Steven J. Davis, Lichao Jia, Jianghua Liu, Zhu Liu, Neil Fromer, Zhifu Mi, Jing Meng, Xiangzheng Deng, Yuan Li, Jintai Lin, Heike Schroeder, Helga Weisz, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, is published in Science Advances.

University of East Anglia

Related Emissions Articles:

Methane emissions from trees
A new study from the University of Delaware is one of the first in the world to show that tree trunks in upland forests actually emit methane rather than store it, representing a new, previously unaccounted source of this powerful greenhouse gas.
Emissions from the edge of the forest
Half of the carbon stored in all of the Earth's vegetation is contained in tropical forests.
An overlooked source of carbon emissions
Nations that pledged to carry out the Paris climate agreement have moved forward to find practical ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including efforts to ban hydrofluorocarbons and set stricter fuel-efficiency standards.
New method for quantifying methane emissions from manure management
The EU Commision requires Denmark to reduce drastically emissions of greenhouse gases from agriculture.
'Watchdog' for greenhouse gas emissions
Mistakes can happen when estimating emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane.
A lower limit for future climate emissions
A new study finds that the world can emit even less greenhouse gases than previously estimated in order to limit climate change to less than 2°C.
Study: Second-generation biofuels can reduce emissions
Second-generation biofuel crops like the perennial grasses Miscanthus and switchgrass can efficiently meet emission reduction goals without significantly displacing cropland used for food production, according to a new study.
Large and increasing methane emissions from northern lakes
Climate-sensitive regions in the north are home to most of the world's lakes.
Global CO2 emissions projected to stall in 2015
Global carbon emissions are projected to stall in 2015, according to researchers at the University of East Anglia and the Global Carbon Project.
DXL-2: Studying X-ray emissions in space
On Dec. 4, 2015, NASA will launch the DXL-2 payload at 11:45 p.m.

Related Emissions Reading:

Automotive Fuel and Emissions Control Systems (4th Edition) (Automotive Systems Books)
by James D. Halderman (Author)

Otoacoustic Emissions, Second Edition (Core Clinical Concepts in Audiology)
by Sumitrajit Dhar (Author), James W. Hall (Author), III (Author)

NATEF Correlated Task Sheets for Automotive Fuel and Emissions Control Systems
by James D. Halderman (Author)

2019 MOTOR EMISSION CONTROL MANUAL
by MOTOR (Author)

Emissions Trading
by T. H. Tietenberg (Author)

A World of Three Zeros: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment, and Zero Net Carbon Emissions
by PublicAffairs

Nocturnal Emissions
by Dark Regions Press

Automotive Emission Controls Manual (Haynes Manuals)
by Haynes (Author)

Acoustic emission source location: a mathematical analysis
by Francis R. Redfern (Author)

Reclaiming the Atmospheric Commons: The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and a New Model of Emissions Trading (American and Comparative Environmental Policy)
by The MIT Press

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Bias And Perception
How does bias distort our thinking, our listening, our beliefs... and even our search results? How can we fight it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas about the unconscious biases that shape us. Guests include writer and broadcaster Yassmin Abdel-Magied, climatologist J. Marshall Shepherd, journalist Andreas Ekström, and experimental psychologist Tony Salvador.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#514 Arctic Energy (Rebroadcast)
This week we're looking at how alternative energy works in the arctic. We speak to Louie Azzolini and Linda Todd from the Arctic Energy Alliance, a non-profit helping communities reduce their energy usage and transition to more affordable and sustainable forms of energy. And the lessons they're learning along the way can help those of us further south.