Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Stopping urban sprawl to curb greenhouse gases

An environmental engineer at the University of Minnesota makes a good case that our spread-out, thinly populated suburbs are a major contributor to the carbon dioxide emissions that are blamed for global warming. Julian D. Marshall writes:
Compact urban form can cut on-road gasoline emissions, the largest segment (62%) of transportation CO2 in the United States. The transportation sector is the largest emitter (33%) of CO2, outpacing the residential, industrial, and commercial sectors. (Electricity generation, when totaled for all sectors, accounts for 41% of CO2 emissions.) Records of automobile usage (Figure 1) show an inverse relationship between population density and per capita daily vehicle-kilometers traveled (VKT) (4, 9).
You can read the rest in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

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