A top-down regional assessment of urban greenhouse gas emissions in Europe

Ambio. 2014 Nov;43(7):957-68. doi: 10.1007/s13280-013-0467-6. Epub 2013 Dec 28.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / chemistry*
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Europe
  • Gases / chemistry*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Regression Analysis


  • Air Pollutants
  • Gases