Global anthropogenic emissions in urban areas: Patterns, trends, and challenges

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Between 1970 and 2015 urban population almost doubled worldwide with the fastest growth taking place in developing regions. To aid the understanding of how urbanisation has influenced anthropogenic CO2 and air pollutant emissions across all world regions, we make use of the latest developments of the Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research. In this study, we systematically analyse over 5 decades of emissions from different types of human settlements (from urban centres to rural areas) for different sectors in all countries. Our analysis shows that by 2015, urban centres were the source of a third of global anthropogenic greenhouse gases and most of the air pollutant emissions. The high levels of both population and emissions in urban centres therefore call for focused urban mitigation efforts. Moreover, despite the overall increase in urban emissions, megacities with more than 10 million inhabitants in high-income countries have been reducing their emissions, while emissions in developing regions are still growing. We further discuss per capita emissions to compare different types of urban centres at the global level.




Crippa, M., Guizzardi, D., Pisoni, E., Solazzo, E., Guion, A., Muntean, M., … Hutfilter, A. F. (2021). Global anthropogenic emissions in urban areas: Patterns, trends, and challenges. Environmental Research Letters, 16(7).

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