Megacities move to track emissions

December 12, 2012

(—In an article published on Dec. 5 in Nature, Jeff Tollefson writes that according to United Nations data, megacities may be responsible for as much as 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions around the world. Scientists, including Kevin Gurney, an associate professor in Arizona State University's School of Life Sciences, are using new CO2 tracking systems to monitor emissions.

Tollefson writes that scientists hope to be able to measure the success of local and national climate initiatives. Gurney and his team of researchers have developed a new software system that is capable of estimating across entire urban landscapes, all the way down to roads and individual buildings. City managers across the country are interested in better understanding each city's emissions.

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Estimating greenhouse gas emissions across urban landscapes.

"I've had mayors calling me, and they all pretty much say the same thing: where do we start?" says Gurney, who has already applied the model to Phoenix, Arizona and is now adapting it to Los Angeles. "If you are going to spend money," Gurney adds, "you need to know where to do it."

Results from ongoing research are being presented this week at the meeting in San Francisco, California.

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