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Environmental Protection & Preservation

EARTH: Carbon and the city

In 2010, the world reached a milestone: The number of people living in urban areas reached 50 percent. This monumental shift from rural to urban living comes with consequences. Growing urban populations will have to learn to efficiently deal with increased demands for energy, transportation, sanitation, food and water while balancing the environmental impacts of such densely populated regions. Currently, 75 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels come from cities, which cover just 3 percent of Earth's land surface. As megacities continue to grow, how will their ever-increasing emissions impact our planet?

Now, the Megacities Project - an international pilot project involving universities, as well as city, state, federal and international agencies - is working to improve local carbon monitoring and modeling to find out, in detail, where carbon emissions originate. This type of information will help cities understand what sectors unique to them contribute the most to their greenhouse gas emissions. Learn how megacities such as Paris and Los Angeles are taking the initiative to reduce their carbon emissions online at EARTH Magazine.

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