Urban Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Asian Mega-Cities: Policies for a Sustainable Future

Policy Report
Urban Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Asian Mega-Cities: Policies for a Sustainable Future

Cities in rapidly industrialising regions of Asia are confronted with multiple tasks for economic development and environmental protection. They tend to give priorities to immediate and local issues, and consider global warming as a far-away issue. The nature of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from cities is not well understood in Asia. In fact, municipal policies to reduce energy consumption bring multiple benefits to the community. It helps to solve air pollution and traffic congestion, and also facilitates the reduction of CO2 emissions.

Energy management at city level was neither a priority nor an important issue until recently because energy related decisions are made at the national level. These days, city policy makers are under growing pressure to incorporate greenhouse gases, especially CO2 emissions into consideration while planning. But any policy measure solely for CO2 reduction is a distant possibility for cities in Asia, with the exception of selected and relatively developed cities. Integrating energy consideration into policies, either by integrating energy concerns to overall urban development or by synergising measures to reduce air pollution and CO2 emissions, is important. Therefore, efforts should be directed towards providing support to cities in generating knowledge and in building their capacity to understand the problem and to find possible measures for implementing policies. The prerequisite for systematic action is the analysis of CO2 emission budgets of cities, their drivers and associated policy analyses.

In this context, Urban Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Asian Mega-Cities: Policies for a Sustainable Future aims to quantify CO2 emissions from energy use and analyse their driving factors for selected Asian Mega-Cities-Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing and Shanghai. It presents discussions on the nature of future challenges. Further, it highlights the needs for taking into account the overall energy and CO2 "footprint" of cities. Finally, it presents policy directions, policy challenges and identifies major opportunities and barriers for integrating CO2 considerations into local environmental policies.