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Urban Characteristics and CO2 Emissions: The Case of Japanese Cities

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Document pages: 10 pages

Abstract: In Japan, office & commercial, household, and transport sectors have made less progress in reducing CO2 emissions than has an industrial sector. CO2 emissions in these three sectors account for a half of Japan’s total CO2 emissions as of 2010. Since 90 of Japanese population live in urban areas, the reduction of CO2 emissions in the three sectors depends on how urban areas can reduce the consumption of fossil-fuel energy (for example, fossil-fuel oriented electricity and heating). To create low-carbon cities that depend on less fossil-fuel energy, both supply and demand sides of energy must be considered. In the energy supply side it is desirable to shift from fossil-fuel energy to renewable energy in all aspects of urban activities. This is particularly true for Japan since renewable energy accounts for only 6 of its total primary-energy supply. Besides the shift from fossil-fuel energy to renewable energy, efforts in energy demand side are also crucial. However, what kinds of efforts in energy demand side are effective to reduce CO2 emissions is a complex issue. How to reduce the consumption of fossil-fuel energy (in other words, how to consume fossil-fuel energy less and efficiently) in all aspects of urban activities depends on environmental technologies, individual lifestyle and business style, and urban characteristics such as population size, population density, demographic structure, industrial structure, per capita income, urban compactness, transportation system, temperature and so on, all of which are interlinked each other. What urban characteristics are significantly relevant in terms of consuming fossil-fuel energy less and efficiently? The purpose of this study is to investigate quantitatively the impacts of urban characteristics on urban CO2 emissions for the case of Japanese cities. Firstly, using the cross-sectional data of 712 Japanese cities the relationship between CO2 emissions and population size, which is considered as the most influential urban characteristic in the consumption of fossil-fuel energy, was investigated. Correlation coefficients between population size and CO2 emissions show the strong relationships in all of three sectors, namely, office & commercial, household, and transport sectors, but there is no significant relationships between population size and per capita CO2 emissions, which reflect per capita consumption of fossil-fuel energy and thus reflect the efficiency in the consumption of fossil-fuel energy, in all of three sectors. Secondly, using the data of same 712 Japanese cities multiple regression analysis was conducted to investigate what urban characteristics besides population size have significant impacts on per capita CO2 emissions. The results of multiple regression analysis show that population density, per capita income, and annual average temperature have statistically significant impacts on per capita CO2 emissions. In conclusion the paper discusses the implications of research findings to urban policies and planning for creating low-carbon cities and also to the society with declining and aging population which many Japanese cities face and other Asian cities will also face in the near future.

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