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Keywords:

  • carbon footprint;
  • city-scale greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions;
  • emissions accounting;
  • industrial ecology;
  • material flow analysis (MFA);
  • trans-boundary greenhouse gases (GHGs)

Summary

Community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions accounting is confounded by the relatively small spatial size of cities compared to nations—due to which, energy use in essential infrastructures serving cities, such as commuter and airline transport, energy supply, water supply, wastewater infrastructures, and others, often occurs outside the boundaries of the cities using them. The trans-boundary infrastructure supply chain footprint (TBIF) GHG emissions accounting method, tested in eight U.S. cities, incorporates supply chain aspects of these trans-boundary infrastructures serving cities, and is akin to an expanded geographic GHG emissions inventory. This article shows the results from applying the TBIF method in the rapidly developing city of Delhi, India.

The objectives of this research are to (1) describe the data availability for implementing the TBIF method within a rapidly industrializing country, using the case of Delhi, India; (2) identify methodological differences in implementation of the TBIF method between Indian versus U.S. cities; and (3) compare broad energy use metrics between Delhi and U.S. cities, demonstrated by Denver, Colorado, USA, whose energy use characteristics and TBIF GHG emissions have previously been shown to be similar to U.S. per capita averages.

This article concludes that most data required to implement the TBIF method in Delhi are readily available, and the methodology could be translated from U.S. to Indian cities. Delhi's 2009 community-wide GHG emissions totaled 40.3 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (t CO2-eq), which are normalized to yield 2.3 t CO2-eq per capita; nationally, India reports its average per capita GHG emissions at 1.5 t CO2-eq. In-boundary GHG emissions contributed to 68% of Delhi's total, where end use (including electricity) energy in residential buildings, commercial and industrial usage, and fuel used in surface transportation contributed 24%, 19%, and 21%, respectively. The remaining 4% of the in-boundary GHG emissions were from waste disposal, water and wastewater treatment, and cattle. Trans-boundary infrastructures were estimated to equal 32% of Delhi's TBIF GHG emissions, with 5% attributed to fuel processing, 3% to air travel, 10% to cement, and 14% to food production outside the city.