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Implications of Low Carbon City Sustainability Strategies for 2050

Steve Harris (), Jan Weinzettel () and Gregor Levin ()
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Steve Harris: IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Aschebergsgatan 44, 411 33 Göteborg, Sweden
Jan Weinzettel: Department of Electro-Technology, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Czech Technical University in Prague, Technická 2, 166 27 Praha6, Czech Republic
Gregor Levin: Department of Environmental Science—Environmental Social Science and Geography, Aarhus University, Frederiksborgvej 399, Building 7407, 135, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 13, 1-1

Abstract: Cities and urban areas are critical nodes of societal resource flows, responsible for both global and local sustainability implications. They are complex systems and understanding the implications of potential actions by cities is critical for progress towards sustainability. In this paper the future implications of sustainability strategies are assessed for 10 European cities by comparing two scenarios for 2050: a business-as-usual (BAU) and a post-carbon/sustainability scenario (PC2050) (generated by city stakeholders). The effects of the scenarios are assessed using a mixed methodology: a semi-quantitative sustainability indicator analysis, energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (both production-based and consumption-based accounting (PBA and CBA)), land-use spatial modelling, and cost–benefit analysis. The paper highlights the clear benefits of PC2050 with improved sustainability indicator results, reduced land sprawl (which averages 16% in BAU) and positive cost–benefit results. Nonetheless, inequality and segregation are a common concern. In addition, whilst PBA indicates a significant decrease (average decrease from 4.7 to 1.3 tCO 2 eq per capita) CBA demonstrates rising overall emissions from an average of 11 to 14.8 tCO 2 eq per capita. This is linked to rising affluence and consumption trends despite local improvements in GHG emissions, which highlights a need for cities to address consumption-based emissions.

Keywords: sustainability assessment; consumption-based accounting; land-use change; scenario analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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