Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: How Community-Wide Infrastructure-Based GHG Footprinting Informs Climate Action Plans in China, India, and the United States

Saturday, November 14, 2015 : 10:35 AM
Board Room (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Andrew Fang, University of Minnesota
China, India, and the USA contribute about 50% of total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the majority of which are attributable to cities (IPCC). China and India are emerging economies predicted to experience rapid urbanization in the future. Massive infrastructure investment is essential for China and India to support their urbanizing populations, while the upgrade of infrastructure in USA is necessary to address the challenge of new and of aging infrastructure. Because infrastructure is so critical to urban development and in shaping GHG emissions, understanding the drivers of urban GHG emissions from the perspective of infrastructure in the three countries is crucial for low carbon development in future.

A community-wide infrastructure GHG footprint (CIF) has been developed to represent the impact of infrastructure use in cities on GHG emissions both within and outside city boundaries. CIF combines the material and energy flow associated with infrastructure use within the city with trans-boundary life-cycle assessment of producing the service. It informs urban planning of seven infrastructure sectors that provide energy, water, transportation, shelter, food, wastewater treatment, waste management and public spaces used to support activities within the city – in its homes, businesses and industries. The infrastructure-based approach offers diverse mitigation strategies by connecting the user of infrastructure with producers of each sector, informing strategies to improve the efficiency of infrastructure use in the city while supporting clean production along the supply chain. In particular, the infrastructure efficiency metrics are useful to compare cities across sectors.

In our paper, we explore how the infrastructure-based GHG footprints inform GHG mitigation in China, India and U.S. cities. We identify the big differences in infrastructure -sector contributions to GHG emissions that emerge between cities in the three different countries. We identify and compare the most high impact sectors and actions in cities of different typologies in USA, China and India. Additionally, we compare and contrast the processes by which infrastructure planning occurs in the different countries and its intersection with GHG mitigation plans, using case studies as well as evaluation of large N data sets in the three countries.