Felix Creutzig, Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, Berlin, Germany

Giovanni Baiocchi, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA

Robert Bierkandt & Paul Pichler, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Researc, Potsdam, germany

Karen C. Seto, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA


Presentation Title: A Global Typology of Urban Energy Use and Implications for Climate Change Mitigations

 

Summary

The aggregate potential for urban mitigation of global climate change is insufficiently understood. This analysis used a dataset of 274 cities representing all city sizes and regions worldwide, demonstrating that economic activity, transport costs, geographic factors and urban form explain 37% of urban direct energy use and 88% of urban transport energy use. The research highlights the significant potential of reducing energy use in rapidly urbanizing Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Key Lessons Learned

  • Of the 15 types of cities classified, the most important classification variable is population density – cities that are above 50 people per hectare exhibit different human behaviors with respect to emissions than those below this density.
     
  • Lowest emission types have characteristics which include: high density and a small household size; high density, higher household size, low income and also low heating degree days (climate variable).
     
  • Highest emission types include characteristics of low population density and high income, but with little influence from housing conditions.  
     
  • London is a very unique case with respect to the rest of England, as it has both the lowest and highest emissions types: Low emission types are found to be more within the center of the city (high pop density); highest emissions are located in the outer fringe.
     
  • If current trends in urban expansion continue, urban energy use will increase more than threefold from 240 exajoules (EJ) in 2005 to 730 EJ in 2050.

Policy/Practice Implications of Research

  • The model shows that urban planning and transport policies can limit the future increase in urban energy use to 540 EJ in 2050 and contribute to mitigating climate change.

 

RETURN TO SESSION 79