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Cities Emit 60% More Carbon Than Thought

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The carbon footprint of some of the world’s biggest cities is 60 percent larger than previously estimated when all the products and services a city consumes is included, according to a new analysis.

The report was released Tuesday at the IPCC Cities and Climate Change Science Conference in Edmonton, Canada, and estimated the carbon emissions for the food, clothing, electronics, air travel, construction materials, and so on consumed by residents but produced outside city limits.

The world’s cities emit 70 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide—and that’s likely higher when consumption emissions are included, says report author Michael Doust, program director at C40 Cities, a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change….

…Wealthy “consumer cities” such as London, Paris, New York, Toronto, or Sydney that no longer have large industrial sectors have significantly reduced their local emissions. However, when the emissions associated with their consumption of goods and services are included, these cities’ emissions have grown substantially and are among the highest in the world on a per person basis, the report says. Meanwhile, “producer” cities in India, Pakistan, or Bangladesh generate lots of industrial pollution and carbon emissions in the manufacture of products that will be sold and consumed in Europe and North America….

..Cities that have high consumption-based GHG emissions are recommended to use consumption-based GHG inventories alongside their sector-based GHG inventories, or incorporate key supply chains into the latter. This would encourage more
holistic GHG emissions assessments; enable decision-makers to consider a wider range of opportunities to reduce global GHG emissions; and provide an additional perspective with which to engage other stakeholders in climate action….

C40 Cities. Consumption-based GHG emissions of C40 cities. March 2018.


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