Lessons from the London climate change strategy: Focusing on combined heat and power and distributed generation

Schulz, N.B. (2010). Lessons from the London climate change strategy: Focusing on combined heat and power and distributed generation. Journal of Urban Technology 17 (3) 3-23. 10.1080/10630732.2010.553038.

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Climate change differs from conventional environmental challenges in that it bridges spatial scales in unprecedented ways: anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are emitted from very local activities, but impacts are transmitted through processes at the global level to distant "elsewheres." This makes it particularly difficult for the individual observer, actor, or victim to recognize mechanisms of cause and effect. The irreducible complexity of the transmission processes involved makes it difficult to allocate responsibility and establish policy responses.

Cities and the urban scale are particularly relevant in this context as they are hosting most GHG-emiting activities. While urban centers cover only about 2 percent of the terrestrial surface and harbor half of the global population, it is estimated that about three-quarters of the fossil fuel-related missions are caused by cities. Cities are, consequentially, a most relevant focus for mitigation initiatives as re-engineering our energy systems will require changes in the fabric and maybe even function of urban areas. Moreover, cities are also an important scale for innovation and adaptation. They host crucial nodes of research and economic infrastructure and are usually early adopters of new technology. They are characterized by high-energy density and heterogeneity in energy use profiles which allow potential for better integration and provide economies of scale and agglomeration.

Still most of the coordinated and international action in climate change abatement and mitigation occurs at the national level, and it is only poorly understood and articulated how national-level policies and reduction targets will actually be downscaled to measures and activities at the local level. Given the large regional variation in activities causing climate change and differences in vulnerability towards impacts of climate change, we need to better understand the implications and leverage available at the subnational and local level.

This paper focuses on the metropolitan region of Greater London and describes the evolution and strucure of current energy consumption patterns as well as projections under various assumptions on policy initiatives. It presents a series of policy measures taken and critically discusses their likelihood of success.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Transitions to New Technologies (TNT)
Bibliographic Reference: Journal of Urban Technology; 17(3):3-23 (December 2010) (Published online 3 March 2011)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:43
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:38
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/9152

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