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Spotlight on LMICs – Urban Emissions Outcomes and the Possibilities for Climate Neutrality

By 2100, Earth’s average temperature is projected to increase by ~3.2°C above pre-industrial levels. Although the impacts would be felt differently across the globe, prolonged heat waves, droughts and extreme weather events could all become increasingly common and severe. Urban areas – from where at least two-thirds of global emissions arise – require a dedicated focus in climate mitigation scenarios. However, there is a scarcity of data that provides a common scenarios framework to compare the possibilities of future emissions outcomes for urban areas, particularly those with less than 500,000 inhabitants.

Dr. Şiir Kılkış set out to support the systematic implementation of scenarios for urban emissions and the efficiency of land use in urban areas. Dr. Kılkış takes it a step further, by developing two types of urban scenarios that are responsive to local climate ambitions in a multi-dimensional context. The study results also provide analyses of urban scenarios based on net cumulative urban emissions, including a CO2 sequestration penalty on carbon sinks due to growth in urban extent. Some intriguing observations include:

  • Different urban emissions scenarios indicate possibilities for reducing 135.80 ± 0.87 MtCO2eq of annual urban consumption-based emissions in 2020 by 58.72 MtCO2eq in 2030 along a 100% renewable energy pathway. 
  • Among illustrative scenario combinations, net cumulative urban emissions are 1725.93 MtCO2eq in the most favorable scenario that is 50.6% lower than those in the least favorable scenario. 
  • Multi-dimensional analyses based on a city index for benchmarking indicate an average improvement of 11.500 for cities with the quickest response for mitigation. 

The results of this study have implications for guiding bold policy action and integrated urban planning to increase mitigation efforts for climate neutrality and sustainability – something that is needed as we approach the year 2100.

Dr. Kılkış is a part of the Urban Knowledge-Action Network of Future Earth. Her research is focused in the areas of energy, environmental science, and emerging/strategic technologies. Her interest in energy has led her to develop the SDEWES Index, novel net-zero district concepts, and the Rational Exergy Management Model to curb carbon dioxide emissions. Dr. Kılkış is a Senior Researcher and Science Advisor to the President at The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK).

Şiir Kılkış. (2023). Integrated Urban Scenarios of Emissions, Land Use Efficiency and Benchmarking for Climate Neutrality and Sustainability. Energy. 285, 128643.

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