Glasgow city and regional leaders and policymakers are invited to find out how real-time urban greenhouse gas (GHG) monitoring can help them in their efforts to tackle climate change.
The Cities are the Key to the Climate Solution Summit, organized by the Global Environment Monitoring and Measurement Initiative (GEMM), will present a pilot project to monitor urban air quality in Glasgow as the city hosts the COP26 climate change conference in November.
The project establishes a dense network of 25 sensors monitoring GHG and particulate levels across Glasgow in real time.
Data from the sensor network, coupled with ‘reverse modeling’, can help identify sources of GHG emissions, providing city leaders and policymakers with information to help them decide on climate change policies and observe their impact almost immediately.
Currently, most GHG emissions data are calculated on the basis of fossil fuel consumption and are only available months or years later, while sensor networks offer the possibility of direct atmospheric observations and in real time.
The project supported by the GEMM Initiative is a collaboration between the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow City Council, Stanford University, University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley), Optica (formerly OSA), AGU, the Met Office and the National Physical Laboratory.
The Cities Are Key to the Climate Solution summit will present these new technologies and methodologies for monitoring GHG emissions and air pollutants in real time, discuss the economic and legal perspectives of adopting this approach and feature a panel discussion on the opportunities and challenges that cities face in meeting GHG and air pollution reduction targets.
Optica and AGU – international scientific companies that are partners in the GEMM Initiative – work with decision-makers around the world on new technologies and scientific developments having a local impact.
“We want to educate city leaders about this technology, the opportunities it offers and encourage them to set up their own sensor network projects,” said Tom Baer, co-lead and director of Stanford Photonics Research. Center at Stanford University, United States.
“Recent low-cost, high-density sensor deployments in cities around the world demonstrate the utility of mapping GHG and air pollution levels in real time. ”
Professor Allister Ferguson of the University of Strathclyde, co-leader of the project, said: “Cities account for over 70% of all GHG emissions and therefore have a key role to play in taking action to address climate change. Indeed, many cities around the world have already pledged to act and set net zero targets, including Glasgow.
“Analyzes of COVID-19 emission reductions during government stay-at-home orders have shown that it is possible to determine the contributions to emissions from various source sectors with detailed mapping and timing throughout the daily cycle. and can provide invaluable information on government policies affecting GHG emissions. levels. “
The Glasgow pilot project uses GHG sensors developed by Professor Ron Cohen at UC Berkeley that cost a fraction of the cost of traditional monitoring stations.
Professor Cohen has operated an extensive array of sensors in the San Francisco Bay Area for eight years as part of the BEACO2N project. During the “refuge in place” orders imposed in California in the wake of COVID-19, he was able to see how reduced car traffic has reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the region.
He said: “When the COVID shelter-in-place order started in California, there was almost immediately a huge reduction in CO2 emissions in the San Francisco Bay Area. Regional CO2 emissions have fallen by 25%, almost all due to a nearly 50% drop in road traffic.
“It really allowed us to test our ideas about how much CO2 is coming from industry and how much is coming from cars. This is what it would look like for CO2 if we electrify the vehicle fleet.
“The implication is that the emissions on the roads could be changed quickly and drastically by policy, and we have a tool to track that relatively quickly. It’s the way to know that we are on the right track to achieve our goals. “