, Volume 43, Issue 7, pp 957–968 | Cite as

A Top-Down Regional Assessment of Urban Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Europe

  • Peter J. Marcotullio
  • Andrea Sarzynski
  • Jochen Albrecht
  • Niels Schulz


This paper provides an account of urban greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 40 countries in Europe and examines covariates of emissions levels. We use a “top-down” analysis of emissions as spatially reported in the Emission Dataset for Global Atmospheric Research supplemented by Carbon Monitoring for Action from 1153 European cities larger than 50 000 population in 2000 (comprising >81 % of the total European urban population). Urban areas are defined spatially and demographically by the Global Rural Urban Mapping Project. We compare these results with “bottom-up” carbon accounting method results for cities in the region. Our results suggest that direct (Scopes 1 and 2) GHG emissions from urban areas range between 44 and 54 % of total anthropogenic emissions for the region. While individual urban GHG footprints vary from bottom-up studies, both the mean differences and the regional energy-related GHG emission share support previous findings. Correlation analysis indicates that the urban GHG emissions in Europe are mainly influenced by population size, density, and income and not by biophysical conditions. We argue that these data and methods of analysis are best used at the regional or higher scales.


Europe Urban Greenhouse gas emissions Regional assessment EDGAR 



This research is part of a study entitled, “Ecosystem Services for an Urbanizing Planet, What 2 billion new urbanites means for air and water,” financed by a grant from the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS project 12455) and The Nature Conservancy. Two reviewers carefully read drafts of the document and provided many questions, comments, and suggestions that greatly improved the paper. Allan Frei provided valuable recommendations concerning our analyses. The authors are responsible for any mistakes, miscalculations, and misinterpretations.

Supplementary material

13280_2013_467_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (152 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 152 kb)


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter J. Marcotullio
    • 1
  • Andrea Sarzynski
    • 2
  • Jochen Albrecht
    • 1
  • Niels Schulz
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Geography, Hunter CollegeCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.School of Public Policy and AdministrationUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  3. 3.ViennaAustria

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