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Cities with world's highest and lowest carbon emission

Last updated on: April 14, 2011 10:18 IST

Image: Protesters dressed in costumes are seen at a rally in favour of taxing carbon emissions in Melbourne.
Photographs: Mick Tsikas/Reuters.
Are cities worldwide to be blamed for high greenhouse gas emissions? Well, not really . . .

"Many cities have very low emissions, as do many city dwellers in even the most industrialised countries, says lead author Daniel Hoornweg, lead urban specialist on Cities and Climate Change at the World Bank.

Many European cities have less than half the emissions per person of many cities in North America. Some wealthy cities in Brazil have lower emissions per person than poorer cities in Asia and Africa, according to a study by International Institute for Environment and Development.

"From the production perspective Shanghai has high emissions but from the consumption perspective its emissions are much lower," the study says.

High carbon emission has resulted in extreme weather conditions across the world. The variation in pattern of monsoons, rise in surface temperature, rise in sea level and melting of glaciers will drastically hit agriculture and food production.

"The world's wealthiest cities and their inhabitants that cause unsustainable levels of greenhouse gas emissions, not cities in general, says David Satterthwaite, editor of Environment and Urbanisation and a senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development.

Knowledge Allianz lists cities on the basis of their carbon emission based on the IIED study... Click NEXT to find out more...

Cities with world's highest and lowest carbon emission

Image: A woman wades through stagnant water with her child in the outskirts of Dhaka.
Photographs: Andrew Biraj/Reuters.
Dhaka, Bangladesh (Rank 17)

Per Capita Emissions: 0.6 tons
Bangladesh Average: 0.4 tons
Population: 12.6 million

Dhaka has low emissions per person as majority of the people are poor. Bangladesh's total emission is likely to rise to 70 million metric tons (mt) by 2015 and 150 million mt by 2030.

Bangladesh plans to reduce at least one third of total carbon emission by 2030.

Cities with world's highest and lowest carbon emission

Image: Traffic moves across Howrah Bridge in Kolkata.
Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters.
Kolkata, India (Rank 16)

Per Capita Emissions: 1.1 tons
India Average: 1.3 tons
Population: 15.6 million

Kolkata has the highest level of carbon dioxide emissions among Indian cities.

"The biggest factors are the type of electricity production, the footprint of the city, how compact it is and how much people use public transportation," Daniel Hoornweg, IIED report co-author and an urban specialist at the World Bank points out.

Cities with world's highest and lowest carbon emission

Image: Vehicles are seen in a traffic jam during rush hour in Sao Paulo.
Photographs: Nacho Doce/Reuters.
Sao Paulo, Brazil (Rank 15)

Per Capita Emissions: 1.4 tons
Brazil Average: 4.2 tons
Population: 20.1 million

Brazil has lower emissions per person than poorer cities in Asia. Cities like Sao Paulo are mostly powered by hydroelectric dams and people use biofuel-powered vehicles.

Cities with world's highest and lowest carbon emission

Image: The Royal Palace before and during (picture below) the Earth Hour in Stockholm.
Photographs: Erik Martensson/Reuters.
Stockholm, Sweden (Rank 14)

Per Capita Emissions: 3.6 tons
Sweden Average: 7.1 tons
Population: 2 million

Stockholm has highly energy-efficient buildings, a combined heat and power system, and uses wind, hydroelectric and biogas from waste to boost its energy needs.

Cities with world's highest and lowest carbon emission

Image: A general view shows part of central Seoul.
Photographs: Lee Jae-Won/Reuters.
Seoul, South Korea (Rank 13)

Per Capita Emissions: 4.1 tons
Korea Average: 11.5 tons
Population: 25 million

One of the cleanest cities in Asia, Seoul is highly energy-efficient city with a sophisticated public transport system.

Cities with world's highest and lowest carbon emission

Image: Anti-nuclear demonstrators holding placards protest at Sant Jaume square in central Barcelona.
Photographs: Albert Gea/Reuters.
Barcelona, Spain (Rank 12)

Per Capita Emissions: 4.2 tons
Spain Average: 9.9 tons
Population: 1.6 million

Barcelona has less than half the emissions per person compared to many cities in North America.

Cities with world's highest and lowest carbon emission

Image: An anti-nuclear protester shows off his owl during a march in front of Tokyo Electric Power Co.
Photographs: Issei Kato/Reuters.
Tokyo, Japan (Rank 11)

Per Capita Emissions: 4.9 tons
Japan Average: 10.8 tons
Population: 35.2 million

Tokyo is a compact city with an huge population, good public transportation and very energy efficient buildings, says the IIED study.

Cities with world's highest and lowest carbon emission

Image: Windsurfers take on the waves at Blaauwberg beach in Cape Town.
Photographs: Mike Hutchings/Reuters.
Cape Town, South Africa (Rank 10)

Per Capita Emissions: 7.6 tons
South Africa Average: 9.9 tons
Population: 3.5 million

Cape Town has lower per capita emissions. Being a major shipping hub, its emissions are higher than many other rich cities.

Cities with world's highest and lowest carbon emission

Image: London.
London, United Kingdom (Rank 9)

Per Capita Emissions: 9.6 tons
UK Average: 10.5 tons
Population: 12 million

London has higher emissions per capita than many other European cities.

A rich city with a high-consumption lifestyle, it can have low per capita emissions from a production perspective, but very high emissions from consumption, according to the IIED report.

Cities with world's highest and lowest carbon emission

Image: New York.
New York, USA (Rank 8)

Per Capita Emissions: 10.5 tons
USA Average: 23.6 tons
Population: 19 million

New York has plans to cut carbon emission by 30 percent by 2030 with more energy-efficient buildings and a congestion fee in city.

Cities with world's highest and lowest carbon emission

Image: Bangkok.
Bangkok, Thailand (Rank 7)

Per Capita Emissions: 10.7 tons
Thailand Average: 3.8 tons
Population: 11.9 million

Carbon emissions in Bangkok are a result of large number of vehicles and the presence of a large port and two international airports, says the IIED report.

Cities with world's highest and lowest carbon emission

Image: Toronto.
Toronto, Canada (Rank 6)

Per Capita Emissions: 11.6 tons
Canada Average: 22.6 tons
Population: 5.5 million

Toronto shows a wide variation in per capita emissions. Peak summers see a rise in usage of air-conditioners leading to higher emission.

Cities with world's highest and lowest carbon emission

Image: Shanghai.
Shanghai, China (Rank 5)

Per Capita Emissions: 11.7 tons
China Average: 3.4 tons
Population: 19.2 million

Chinese cities have the highest carbon emissions per capita and energy consumption per unit of GDP in Asia.

The IIED report says the carbon emissions are on an average are much higher than per capita national averages. A huge industrial base and increasing growth in the number of vehicles has made the situation worse.

Cities with world's highest and lowest carbon emission

Image: Porsche museum at Stuttgart.
Stuttgart, Germany (Rank 4)

Per Capita Emissions: 16 tons
Germany Average: 11.6 tons
Population: 600,000

The auto hub of the world, Stuttgart houses most of the automobile companies. With a large presence of rich people in the city, it is not surprising that emissions are growing at a fast rate.

Cities with world's highest and lowest carbon emission

Image: Sydney.
Sydney, Australia (Rank 3)

Per Capita Emissions: 20.3 tons
Australia Average: 25.75 tons
Population: 4.5 million

The city's dependency on coal for electricity is one of the reasons for the high carbon emission. Besides this, Sydney has one of the biggest natural harbours and an international airport leading to higher emissions.

Cities with world's highest and lowest carbon emission

Image: Denver.
Denver, USA (Rank 2)

Per Capita Emissions: 21.5 tons
National Average: 23.6 tons
Population: 600,000

Denver has high carbon emissions due to the cold climate and reliance on coal for its electricity.

Cities with world's highest and lowest carbon emission

Image: Rotterdam.
Rotterdam, Netherlands (Rank 1)

Per Capita Emissions: 29.8 tons
Netherlands Average: 12.7 tons
Population: 600,000

The highest carbon emission comes from a small population in Rotterdam. The shipping industry contributes  significantly towards rising carbon emission in the city.