Carbon Neutral Cities

Visit Webpage

Cities are the major source of CO2 emissions and carbon neutral cities are the new norm to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Paris Agreement’s target is to keep the global temperature at 1.5 °C above the pre-industrial era. Many countries under the United Nations have set goals of achieving carbon neutrality (net zero-carbon emissions) in the near future. Seattle is one of the leading cities in the US for such goals: the City is planning to be carbon neutral by 2050 under the Climate Action Plan. However, despite the major policies of urban densification and promotion of walking/biking/public transportation, the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions from transportation sector are two times larger than that of the building sector (59% vs. 22%) in Seattle. What is the city’s strategy to reach net zero emissions? How is Seattle doing compared to other exemplar cities in the US and Western Europe? In this course, we intend to unpack the efforts of major cities to achieve carbon neutrality. We will review, analyze, and compare their plans, and identify the pros and cons of policies. Moreover, this class will discuss the potential impacts on climate justice and highly impacted communities.