Spatial Distribution of U.S. Household Carbon Footprints Reveals Suburbanization Undermines Greenhouse Gas Benefits of Urban Population Density(Abstract, Christopher Jones and Daniel M. Kammen, Environ. Sci. Technol., Dec. 13, 2013)
Also discussed here: Suburban Sprawl Cancels Carbon Footprint Savings of Dense Urban Cores(Science Daily, Jan. 6, 2014)
And here: Carbon Footprint Maps(University of California, Berkeley, Sep. 21, 2012)
Today we review a report that examined the carbon footprint of most cities in the USA. The authors found that the emissions from suburbs were twice those of urban cores which combine high population density with low carbon emissions. While much attention is paid by many urban planners to densification of urban cores in an attempt to reduce emissions and infrastructure pressures, it seems that the overall emissions will not change unless attention is paid to the suburbs as well, particularly in more use of electric vehicles and photo-voltaic solar cells.
“Dominated by emissions from cars, trucks and other forms of transportation, suburbs account for about 50 percent of all household emissions”
“The average carbon footprint of households living in the center of large, population-dense urban cities is about 50 percent below average, while households in distant suburbs are up to twice the average”
"Metropolitan areas look like carbon footprint hurricanes, with dark green, low-carbon urban cores surrounded by red, high-carbon suburbs,"
“the primary drivers of carbon footprints are household income, vehicle ownership and home size, all of which are considerably higher in suburbs”
“Efforts to increase population density, for example, appear not to be a very effective strategy locally for reducing emissions. A 10-fold increase in population density in central cities yields only a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”
"Suburbs are excellent candidates for a combination of solar photovoltaic systems, electric vehicles and energy-efficient technologies,"