Consumption-based screening of climate change footprints for cities worldwide

Pernille K. Ohms*, Alexis Laurent, Michael Z. Hauschild, Morten W. Ryberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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With long-term prospects indicating worldwide increasing urbanization over the next decades, cities are responsible for a growing share of global greenhouse gas emissions. This makes local policies more important in mitigating climate change, and calls for efficient tools allowing local decision makers to measure the impact of urban areas under their control. This study introduces a parsimonious screening tool to cater to this need and allow local governments to gauge and monitor consumption-based climate change footprint of cities. The tool consists of multiple-regression models that operate on easily accessible city data. To demonstrate its applicability, the per capita climate change footprint is estimated for 949 cities. Australian cities are found to have the highest per-capita footprint, averaging 20.4 t CO2-eq, while South American cities have the lowest per-capita footprint, averaging 8.1 t CO2-eq. The results are evaluated against IPCC climate change mitigation pathways to judge which cities are on track to an absolute sustainable level of greenhouse gas emissions. Few cities are found to be on track to comply with the necessary levels for 2030, and the findings thus substantiate that cities all over the planet need major actions to comply with the required climate change mitigation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number134197
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Climate change footprint
  • Consumption-scope
  • Sustainable cities
  • Sustainability screening
  • Multiple regression models


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