Urban Fold

Differences in City Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Different cities have different levels of greenhouse gas emissions. A new study looks at how they are different and why.

The study was performed by researchers at the University of Toronto, and compared ten global metropolises.

"Dr Christopher Kennedy and his colleagues tried to quantify the contributions of heating, transport and waste disposal, among other things, to the emission of greenhouse gases in each of these cities, and to calculate the emissions per person that resulted. They also included in their calculations some emissions that took place outside the city limits, such as those associated with the production of fuel that was consumed in the cities in question.

The results, which will be published in the October 1st issue of Environmental Science and Technology, showed that the total emissions of the ten chosen cities varied considerably, ranging from 4.1 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person in Barcelona to 21.5 tonnes in Denver. Other low emitters included Geneva and Prague; Los Angeles, Cape Town and Toronto were among the high emitters. The rest fell in between."

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Michael Lewyn's picture

Game over?

This study (assuming that its calculations are correct) would seem to annihilate the argument that we can have auto-dependent sprawl and low emissions too merely by reducing congestion.

In the past, supporters of this view have argued that Los Angeles has high pollution because of its congestion, and that other sprawling but less congestion cities should have low emissions.

But if you follow the links, what do you find? That the city with the highest transportation fuel emissions (Denver) is also the most sprawling, low-density and car-dependent of the group. Even though Denver has less congestion than Los Angeles and some other major cities, this fact does not outweigh the effects of car dependence.

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