In the year 2015, 170 countries signed the Paris Agreement, with the goal of limiting the average global temperature increase to 1.5°C. Following the agreement, many countries and cities proposed targets for greenhouse gas mitigation. However, we are hardly close to the goal. In fact, the UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2020 shows that, without drastic and strict actions to mitigate the climate crisis, we are still heading for a temperature increase of more than 3°C by the end of the 21st century.
A new study published in the journal Frontiers in Sustainable Cities presents the first global balance sheet of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) emitted by major cities around the world. It found that out of the 167 cities analysed in the study, 25 cities account for 52 per cent of the total urban greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and cities in Europe, Australia and the US have significantly higher per capita emissions than cities in developing countries.
Cities Responsible For More Than 70% Of Emissions
The study highlighted that cities are reported to be responsible for more than 70 per cent of GHG emissions. "Nowadays, more than 50 per cent of the global population resides in cities. Cities are reported to be responsible for more than 70 per cent of GHG emissions, and they share a big responsibility for the decarbonisation of the global economy," said Shaoqing Chen from Sun Yat-sen University, China.
In general, both developed and developing countries have cities with high total GHG emissions, and some cities in developed countries still generate a lot of emissions (such as cities in Japan, the USA, Korea, Germany, and Singapore). The study found that stationary energy is one of the largest contributors to GHG emissions of cities, which includes emissions from fuel combustion and electricity use in residential and institutional buildings, commercial buildings, and industrial buildings.
Emissions From Various Sources
Nearly half of the 109 cities had stationary energy emissions that represented more than 70 per cent of their total GHG emissions, and more than 80 per cent of the cities had stationary energy emissions that represented over 50 per cent of total emissions. Transportation also plays an important role in the total GHG emissions in most cities. The study found that in about one-third of the cities, more than 30 percent of total GHG emissions were from on-road transportation. In comparison, the emissions from railways, aviation, and waterways were much lower.