07 September 2012

New book: Energizing sustainable cities

Cities house about half the world’s population, but use 60 to 80 percent of global energy, according to a new assessment by IIASA scientists, now published as a book-Energizing Sustainable Cities.

© Derek Gordon | Dreamstime.com

© Derek Gordon | Dreamstime.com

As urbanization continues, the assessment shows, that fraction will grow even further. As a result, all major global sustainability challenges increasingly need to be analyzed in an urban context. IIASA scientist Arnulf Grubler and David Fisk of the Imperial College London edited the volume, which rose out of the Global Energy Assessment (GEA).

The assessment was the first to ever look at energy as it is linked to urbanization at both a global level and at a detailed case- study level. Studying urban energy use is challenging because most data is organized by country, while large cities have many ties to the global economy that defy simple geographical boundaries.

“You can’t understand New York without understanding the entire planet,” Grubler said, “It’s a global city.”

The assessment also showed that cities can do a lot to reduce energy use, for example by encouraging efficient buildings, and planning development so that people can use efficient public transportation systems. Cities also have the unique ability to use advanced recycling schemes for materials as well as energy (cogeneration and district heating systems). For more information and research highlights, read the Options feature article: The Urban Energy Challenge

The book is available from Earthscan publishers: http://www.publish.csiro.au/pid/7031.htm


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Last edited: 07 September 2012


Arnulf Grubler

Distinguished Emeritus Research Scholar Transformative Institutional and Social Solutions Research Group - Energy, Climate, and Environment Program

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313