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Tracking carbon footprint of cities: production- vs. consumption-based accounting

University of East Anglia
Norwich, England
EcologyEconomicsGrant: Cities & Transportation
Ended on 1/12/17
Campaign Ended
  • $121
  • 5%
  • Finished
    on 1/12/17

About This Project

Cities are responsible for three quarters of global energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Because of this, cities are a key area for implementing policies designed for climate change mitigation. However, most of previous CO2 emission inventories were developed at the global or national level. We will use environmentally extended input-output model to develop a feasible methodology to construct CO2 emissions inventory of cities from both production and consumption perspectives.

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What is the context of this research?

We will estimate the CO2 emissions of cities from both production and consumption perspectives. The production-based CO2 emissions inventories will be complied according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidance and include all emissions produced by socioeconomic sectors and residence activities directly within the city boundary. Inventories consist of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel consumption and industrial processes.

The consumption-based CO2 emissions will be constructed by the environmental input-output analysis (IOA) method which is an established life cycle assessment (LCA) and carbon emissions analysis approach. Emissions are induced by different final uses, including household consumption, government consumption, capital formation, and inventory changes.

What is the significance of this project?

The methodology of constructing CO2 emission inventories at the city level is meaningful for urban low-carbon development. Advantages of consumption-based accounting have been shown in many studies. This approach elucidates the drivers of emissions growth, improves cost-effectiveness and justice and addresses carbon leakage. At the city level, consumption-based accounting can help cities to reduce emissions both within city boundaries and along their entire supply chains at minimum cost. Interregional cooperation on climate change mitigation should employ consumption-based accounting to allocate mitigation responsibilities more fairly and efficiently. Therefore, consumption-based carbon emission accounting is a complementary tool for promoting climate action at the city level.

What are the goals of the project?

We aim to develop a feasible methodology for constructing CO2 emissions inventories of cities from both production and consumption perspectives. Three major goals are designed.

1) Collection of relevant data of energy consumption, emission factors, and input-output tables. These are the foundations of constructing emissions inventories.

2) Construction of CO2 emissions inventories. Based on the IPCC guidance and environmental input-output model, we will develop the methodology to construct CO2 emission inventories of cities from both production and consumption perspectives.

3) Comparison between production- and consumption-based emissions. We will compare and discuss the gaps between the two inventories and analyze the drivers of CO2 emissions from the perspective of final uses.


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The funds will be used for developing methodology for constructing CO2 emission inventories, collecting relevant data (including energy consumption, emission factors, and input-output tables), and traveling.

Endorsed by

Cities are increasingly at the forefront of efforts to address climate change mitigation with many signing up to frameworks for reducing GHG emissions. The urban climate actions place urgent demands on the scientific community to provide an approach to estimate CO2 emissions at the city level. Although CO2 emission inventories have captured both public and academic attention in recent years, most of previous inventories were developed at the global or national level. Therefore, this project is meaningful for low-carbon development of cities.

Meet the Team

Zhifu Mi
Zhifu Mi


University of East Anglia
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Team Bio

The project will be conducted under supervision of Professor Dabo Guan. He is a Chair Professor in Climate Change Economics at University of East Anglia. He specialises in environmental economics for international climate change mitigation. He was a Lead Author for the Working Group III of the IPCC 5th Assessment Report. He has authored over 80 publications, including articles published Science, Nature, Nature Climate Change, Nature Geoscience and PNAS.

Zhifu Mi

I am a Senior Research Associate in the School of International Development, University of East Anglia (UEA) and a Senior Research Fellow in the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. I achieved a bachelor degree in Mathematics and a Ph.D. degree in Energy and Climate Economics. My research is focused on climate change mitigation, energy policy, and climate change economic theories and modelling. I have authored over 20 articles in peer-reviewed journals. I am also serving as a Managing Guest Editor for Journal of Cleaner Production (IF=4.959).

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Project Backers

  • 10Backers
  • 5%Funded
  • $121Total Donations
  • $12.10Average Donation
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