PHILADELPHIA — A study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and University of Delaware shows that cooperation between local and regional governments and organizations is crucial to achieve carbon-reduction goals being negotiated in the Copenhagen Conference of the Parties, or COP15, summit.
The findings are presented in a new position paper presented at the summit, “An Urban Agenda for the New Climate,” from Penn’s T.C. Chan Center for Building Simulation and Energy Studies and the University of Delaware Center for Energy and Environmental Policy, or CEEP.
“City and regional strategies will continue to commit to and achieve quantitative carbon reductions that surpass those adopted by the COP process because of the ‘bottom-up’ governance that settlements and their civil societies produce,” John Byrne of CEEP said. “The ‘top-down’ must support these efforts.”
Cities use 75 percent of global fossil-fuel production, and the buildings and transportation that constitute key infrastructures of cities account for 60 percent of the investment needed to limit global temperature rise to 2C°.
“Technology exists that can guide policy makers in the regulation of all aspects of sustainable settlements and can guide investments in energy efficiency that maximize and accelerate the transition to low- and no-carbon-built environments,” Ali Malkawi of Penn said.
The researchers say reducing greenhouse gases will need cooperation from local governments and organizations where crucial energy and environmental decisions actually occur.
“The ‘gazelles’ among metropolitan settlements demonstrate a path forward that recognizes the need to re-align decision making authority and resources in terms of regional ‘energysheds’ that will optimize a low-carbon transition,” said Mark Alan Hughes of Penn’s School of Design, which houses the T. C. Chan Center.