City managers trying to reduce emissions should think small

Cars on a highway at duskIn a recent commentary published in Nature, ASU sustainability scientists Kevin Gurney and Nancy Grimm, both with ASU's School of Life Sciences, along with the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering’s Mikhail Chester, state that cutting carbon emissions by putting more electric cars on the road or generating more clean energy only fixes a small percentage of global urban CO2 emissions. Instead, the researchers say, city managers should handle emissions the same way they handle regional development, transport planning and waste disposal — at the scale of a house or road. Doing so would make it much easier to see where a city’s “carbon hot spots” are, allowing city officials to focus their efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions on areas that are contributing most to the problem.