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Scenarios of technology adoption towards low-carbon cities

Mohareb, E. A. ORCID: and Kennedy, C. A. (2014) Scenarios of technology adoption towards low-carbon cities. Energy Policy, 66. pp. 685-693. ISSN 0301-4215

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2013.10.070


Technological change has often been presented as a readily accepted means by which long-term greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions can be achieved. Cities are the future centers of economic growth, with the global population becoming predominantly urban; hence, increases or reductions of GHG emissions are tied to their energy strategies. This research examines the likelihood of a developed world city (the Greater Toronto Area) achieving an 80% reduction in GHG emissions through policy-enabled technological change. Emissions are examined from 3 major sources: light duty passenger vehicles, residential buildings and commercial/institutional buildings. Logistic diffusion curves are applied for the adoption of alternative vehicle technologies, building retrofits and high performance new building construction. This research devises high, low and business-as-usual estimates of future technological adoption and finds that even aggressive scenarios are not sufficient to achieve an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050. This further highlights the challenges faced in maintaining a relatively stable climate. Urban policy makers must consider that the longer the lag before this transition occurs, the greater the share of GHG emissions mitigation that must addressed through behavioural change in order to meet the 2050 target, which likely poses greater political challenges.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment > Energy and Environmental Engineering group
ID Code:44983


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