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UCD IGERT Research and Outreach on City-Scale Climate Actions


UCD IGERT research and preceding GAANN research have focussed on one increasingly important aspect of urban sustainability, i.e., How can Universities work with Cities to develop cutting edge research tools that will facilitate Climate Action at the local level.

We are approaching this challenge from three different perspectives: 1) Developing more holistic tools to measure and communicate sustainability; 2) Developing and testing more resource-efficient infrastructures; 3) Developing requisite planning and policy pathways for rapid diffusion of resource-efficient infrastructrues. The three perspectives require integration of engineering with planning, policy and human behavior.

NOTE TO NSF – this highlight includes IGERT as well as prior GAANN activity. In this brief we wish to highlight a new demand-centered hybrid life cycle based methodology that we have developed to better measure the greenhouse gas footprints of cities. The new methodology provides a cutting edge tool for cities to measure their greenhouse gas impact as well as prioritize climate action plans based on performance in GHG mitigation, first cost-effectiveness ($/mtCO2e mitigated), life cycle savings, and ease of implementation. IGERT students are working with real-cities to conduct greenhouse gas inventories adn climate action planning – thereby taking this research to real-world application through outreach. Future IGERT students (2008-09 entrants) will also take this methodology and apply to two developing world cities.

Address Goals

The City Scale Inventory Protocol and Climate Action Tool create new knowledge at the intersection of science, engineering, planning and public policy, thereby meeting the primary objective of transformational research.

Our work creates consistency in understanding greenhouse gas emissions from the scale of the individual (personal calculators) to cities (city-scale protocols) to states and nations, thereby improving public understanding of their own behaviors and action options that contribute to climate change. By this we are improving the scientific literacy of citizens with regard to climate change, not only in the US, but also worldwide.