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23 Mar 2009: Urban Residents Generate
Lower CO2 Emissions Than Suburbanites

People who live in large cities generate significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than those who live in rural and suburban areas, according to a report by the International Institute for Environment and Development. While the high concentration of population and businesses found in cities are often seen as a pollution “problem,” researchers found that “high densities and large population concentrations can also bring a variety of advantages for … environmental management.” For instance, while New York City emitted 58.3 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2005, the per capita average of 7.1 tons was about a third of the national average of 23.92 tons per capita in 2004, according to the study. The density of buildings and high use of public transportation in New York contributes to the lower individual emissions, according to the report. Likewise, the 2006 per capita emissions average in London was about 6.18 tons – about 55 percent of the UK’s 2004 average of 11.19 tons. The report examined emissions data from cities in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. “The real climate change culprits are not the cities themselves but the high consumption lifestyles of people living across these wealthy countries,” said report author David Dodman.

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