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Atmospheric-based greenhouse gas measurements can help cities achieve their climate and sustainability goals



Kimberly Mueller, Thomas Lauvaux, Kevin R. Gurney, Phil DeCola, Sharon Gourdji, Geoffrey Roest, James Whetstone


Cities' GHG climate mitigation policies are largely based on self-reported inventories (SRIs) constructed from a protocol guideline. However, there is no agreed up approach to develop an SRI. Credible assessment of the effectiveness of cities' GHG mitigation policies require accurate and consistent emission data at scales that align with human activity and decision making. Current emission information available to cities is not sufficiently accurate, consistent, and lacks the mapping and time-resolution needed to target reduction opportunities and track progress toward mitigation goals. Measurement-based methods are emerging that assimilate atmospheric GHG concentration measurements, simulate atmospheric transport and mixing, and incorporate GHG emission data at the building and street scale every hour. Emission information from these methods can deliver the needed improvements to improve whole- city emissions while also providing the specific locations that deliver the most effective mitigation policies. The integration of city-specific knowledge with emission information from measurement-based approaches could yield the largest opportunities to achieve co-benefits of reducing GHG emissions while also improving other city sustainability objectives. Here, we examine the limits of the conventional SRI approach, consider the need for different constraints to assess trends and spatially identify the largest emitters, and discuss future pathways that integrates both city-centric planning and measurement-based approaches.
npj Urban Sustainability


urban, carbon dioxide, emissions, inversion


Mueller, K. , Lauvaux, T. , Gurney, K. , DeCola, P. , Gourdji, S. , Roest, G. and Whetstone, J. (2021), Atmospheric-based greenhouse gas measurements can help cities achieve their climate and sustainability goals, npj Urban Sustainability (Accessed May 26, 2024)


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Created July 28, 2021, Updated May 13, 2024