Drivers of cities' emissions trajectories
Most social theories on the relationship between society and the environment focus on the national and international level. RS–Cities is using a common framework to test those theories at the city level, and to quantify how changes in the magnitude of such drivers as population size, density, and affluence relate to variations in urban emissions (CO2 and SO2) and the use of energy in transportation and other emitting sectors.
With the exception of population size and, to a lesser extent, population density and affluence, a remarkable level of variation exists in the importance of drivers. Therefore, different factors account for the diverse levels and sources of urban greenhouse gases emissions both within and across cities: (a) differences both in their national/regional energy systems and in how energy generation, transportation and other emitters operate; (b) levels of economic development and affluence as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) per capita; (c) technology and technological innovations and acquisition; (d) climatic situation, altitude and location in relation to energy sources; (e) demographic structure and dynamics of a city; (f) urban function and city's economic base; (g) urban form (spatial structure) and related to this, the lay out and structure of a city's transportation system; and (h) markets (prices) and the wider institutional setting of the city (Click Here). Currently the team is working, together with colleagues from IMAGe, Perdue U., IGES, Japan and the O. of Manchester, on a modeling study focused on relationships between change in societal and climatic drivers and the levels of greenhouse gases associated with different cities.