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Ecological footprint assessment for targeting climate change mitigation in cities: A case study of 15 Canadian cities according to census metropolitan areas

TitleEcological footprint assessment for targeting climate change mitigation in cities: A case study of 15 Canadian cities according to census metropolitan areas
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsIsman, M., Archambault M., Racette P., Konga C. Noel, Llaque R. Miranda, Lin D., Iha K., and Ouellet-Plamondon C. M.
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume174
Pages1032 - 1043
Keywordscarbon footprint, carbon mitigation, cities, ecological footprint, electricity, food, goods, household expenditure, services, sustainable consumption, top-down assessment, transportation
Abstract

As the world moves towards a carbon-free future, cities have been identified as key hubs for change. They have the greatest ability to quickly develop more efficient systems and implement climate change mitigation policies. Moreover, cities will become the destination of a population migration as humanity grows globally to a population of 11 billion. In this case study, we show that the applicability of the Ecological Footprint, an overarching outcome measure of resource consumption, for targeting climate change mitigation in cities. We focus on the carbon Footprint subcomponent of the Ecological Footprint, and further translate and disaggregate the carbon Footprint into detailed classification of individual consumption according to purpose (COICOP) and analyze the Footprint of consumption associated with each of these categories for 15 Canadian cities according to census metropolitan area (CMA), from each province. The Ecological Footprint of CMAs was calculated from the consumption land use matrix (CLUM) of Canada, by scaling results according to the annual national survey of household spending from 2010 to 2015. The expenditure in electricity was also scaled with the carbon intensity factor. Our findings indicate that the carbon Footprint remains the largest contributor of the Ecological Footprint of CMAs. The carbon Footprint associated with housing varied significantly with the source of electricity production. CMAs relying on renewable energy sources have a substantially lower carbon Footprint than those relying on fossil fuel energy. The carbon Footprint associated with the operation of personal transportation was the second largest among all consumption categories. Financial services is the largest share of the carbon Footprint from service consumption. Clothing consumption caused most of the goods' carbon Footprint. A better understanding of urban planning of Canadian CMAs and promoting local consumption will improve carbon mitigation and long-term sustainability.

URLhttps://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652617324976
DOI10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.10.189