Home Greenhouse A handful of cities responsible for urban greenhouse gas emissions – study

A handful of cities responsible for urban greenhouse gas emissions – study


A woman wearing a mask walks past buildings on a polluted day in Handan, Hebei Province, China, January 12, 2019. REUTERS / Stringer / File Photo

LONDON / MADRID, July 12 (Reuters) – Only 25 major cities – almost all in China – accounted for more than half of the greenhouse gases emitted by a sample of 167 urban centers around the world, according to an analysis of emissions trends showed on Monday.

In per capita terms, however, emissions from cities in the richest regions of the world are still generally higher than those from urban centers in developing countries, the researchers found in the study published in the open-access journal Frontiers in. Sustainable Cities.

The study compared greenhouse gas emissions reported by 167 cities in 53 countries and found that 23 Chinese cities – including Shanghai, Beijing and Handan – as well as Moscow and Tokyo accounted for 52% of the total.

It included more cities from China, India, the United States and the European Union due to their greater contribution to global emissions and their importance to the climate debate.

The findings highlighted the important role cities play in reducing emissions, said Shaoqing Chen, co-author of the study, an environmental specialist at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, in the report. southern China.

“It’s simple, logical,” he said. “If you don’t take action, you will end up suffering (from climate change),” he said.

Average global temperatures have already risen by more than 1 degree Celsius from the pre-industrial benchmark and are still on track to exceed the limit of 1.5 to 2 degrees set by the Paris Agreement.

Chen and other scientists, however, cautioned that some of the data available for their study was spotty, with some cities reporting numbers dating back to 2005.

A lack of consistency in how cities report their emissions also makes comparisons difficult, they added.


Research published in 2018 in the journal Environmental Research Letters analyzed a much larger sample of 13,000 cities, large and small, and found that 100 cities containing 11% of the world’s population generated 18% of its carbon footprint.

Yet the new analysis “contributes to the growing literature and our understanding of urban broadcasts,” said Karen Seto, professor of geography and urban science at Yale University, co-author of the 2018 article.

“It’s really hard to compare apples to apples on cities’ greenhouse gas emissions, but you have to try, and the paper does a pretty good job,” added Dan Hoornweg, professor at Ontario Tech. University and former World Bank advisor on sustainable cities. and climate change.

Chen said the new analysis was the first to look at mega-cities’ emission reduction targets and progress in reduction.

Sixty-eight of the cities – mostly in developed countries – had set absolute emission reduction targets.

But only 30 of 42 cities where progress was tracked in the study had shown a reduction. Most of them were in the United States and Europe.

The analysis confirms scientists’ expectations that, while in China, cities with high emissions per capita are generally major manufacturing centers, those in developed countries with the highest per capita rates tend to have higher per capita levels. high consumption.

While more developed economies in Europe and elsewhere can now grow without increasing their emissions, the world is moving at different speeds, Hoornweg said.

“They generated a ton of emissions on the way to getting there and China is at this stage now. We know India will get there at some point and the last big push in all of this will be Africa,” did he declare.

Additional reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor in Singapore; Editing by Katy Daigle and Helen Popper

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