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Pathways to Carbon-Neutral Cities Prior to a National Policy

Pathways to Carbon-Neutral Cities Prior to a National Policy

Title: Pathways to Carbon-Neutral Cities Prior to a National Policy
Author: Laine, Jani
Heinonen, Jukka
Junnila, Seppo
Date: 2020-03-20
Language: English
Scope: 2445
University/Institute: Háskóli Íslands
University of Iceland
School: Verkfræði- og náttúruvísindasvið (HÍ)
School of Engineering and Natural Sciences (UI)
Department: Umhverfis- og byggingarverkfræðideild (HÍ)
Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering (UI)
Series: Sustainability;12(6)
ISSN: 2071-1050
DOI: 10.3390/su12062445
Subject: C40 Cities; Carbon neutral cities; GHG Protocol; Greenhouse gas emissions; Sustainable built environment; Gróðurhúsalofttegundir; Mengunarvarnir; Borgir; Sjálfbærni
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11815/2397

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Laine J, Heinonen J, Junnila S. Pathways to Carbon-Neutral Cities Prior to a National Policy. Sustainability. 2020; 12(6):2445.


Some cities have set carbon neutrality targets prior to national or state-wide neutrality targets, which makes the shift to carbon neutrality more difficult, as the surrounding system does not support this. The purpose of this paper was to evaluate different options for a progressive city to reach carbon neutrality in energy prior to the surrounding system. The study followed the C40 Cities definition of a carbon-neutral city and used the City of Vantaa in Finland as a progressive case aiming for carbon neutrality by 2030, five years before the national target for carbon neutrality. The study mapped the carbon neutrality process based on City documents and national statistics, and validated it through process-owner interviews. It was identified that most of the measures in the carbon neutrality process were actually outside the jurisdiction of the City, which outsources the responsibility for the majority of carbon neutrality actions to either private properties or national actors with broader boundaries. The only major measure in the City's direct control was the removal of carbon emissions from municipal district heat production, which potentially represent 30% of the City's reported carbon emissions and 58% of its energy-related carbon emissions. Interestingly, the City owns electricity production capacity within and beyond the city borders, but it doesn't allocate it for itself. Allocation would significantly increase the control over the City's own actions regarding carbon neutrality. Thus, it is proposed that cities aiming for carbon neutrality should promote and advance allocable carbon-free energy production, regardless of geographical location, as one of the central methods of achieving carbon neutrality.


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