Evidence-Based Sustainability Planning in Cities: Evaluating City Climate Action Plans and Media Reports in US, India & China
(Natural Resource Security, Energy and Environmental Policy)
Saturday, November 14, 2015: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
Board Room (Hyatt Regency Miami)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Panel Organizers: Anu Ramaswami, University of Minnesota
Panel Chairs: Richard Feiock, Florida State University
Discussants: Christopher M. Weible, University of Colorado, Denver and Michelle Lee, Indiana University
More than 1,000 cities worldwide are engaged in climate action and sustainable energy planning. Urban metropolitan areas in the US, India and China are particularly important as these three countries together account for more than 50% of the world’s fossil fuel use and GHG emissions. Further, both India and China are undergoing rapid urbanization, thus sustainable urban planning initiated now can have long term impacts. The IPCC's latest report on Human Settlements indicates that infrastructure provision to urban areas is responsible for a large majority of energy and GHG emission from cities. This panel explores the evidence base for prioritizing action derived from city footprints, the media reports of the issues around energy and urban sustainability, and the political and administrative factors that shape the sustainability plan making process in cities.
In the U.S. despite the rapid expansion of climate protection activity by local governments and scholarly attention to city sustainability policy, the diversity of plans and processes has limited our knowledge of GHG gas accounting and how it translates in to emission reduction efforts. This panel explores this issue in 4 papers.
The first explores how different types of GHG emission footprints are informing the creation of climate action plans in all three countries. The analysis explores empirical evidence offered by carbon footprints as to the key infrastructure sectors and actions indicated that have maximum impact. High impact sectors and action in USA, China and India, are compared to provide an overview of sustainable infrastructure planning processes and financial instruments. The second paper presented by Costie and his colleagues, explores how air pollution may be emerging as a driver for sustainable infrastructure planning in India using media analysis and narrative policy framework. The third paper presented by Megan Mullin examines the prevalence and content of GHG related provisions in U.S. regional transportation plans. A comprehensive review of regional long range transportation plans (LRTP) catalogs whether and how these plans integrate greenhouse gas reduction targets into their stated goals and funded projects and the role of cities in LRTPs. The fourth paper by JC Martel and Rachel Krause develops an innovative measure of city GHG impacts based on city GHG Inventories. The authors extract emissions data from city’s GHG inventories using an approach designed to provide standardized numbers, despite the very unstandardized inventory formats that cities use. Emissions are accounted for residential and commercial buildings, transportation, waste, etc. Cluster analysis on the emissions is conducted to identify what emissions bundles emerge and what “types” of cities are associated with each emissions bundle. Together these paper offer new insights for measuring and evaluating the impacts of city climate action plans.