Project: Greenhouse gas monitoring service for large cities

A Climate-KIC co-funded programme is set to reduce the uncertainty of greenhouse gas registrations in our big cities, says project deputy coordinator Irène Xueref-Remy.

Launched in 2012 and scheduled to run for three years, CARBOCOUNTCITY brings Climate-KIC and six other players together to deliver a commercially available, cost effective and easy-to-deploy greenhouse gas (GHG) monitoring service for large cities. It’s a great example of a multi-partner collaboration.

Established first in Paris, where three monitoring stations have already been installed by forerunner project CO2-Megaparis, CARBOCOUNT-CITY will later extend its atmospheric transfer model to Rotterdam. The service, which will provide online daily maps of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) emissions, uses ‘top down’ modelling to reduce the uncertainty of GHG registrations.

‘Today’s inventories use bottom-up methodologies,’ says Irène Xueref-Remy of France’s Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, coordinator lab for the project. ‘You start off with ground level numbers and end up with what’s in the atmosphere, but the variables are significant. Top down means we measure real concentrations and use these to optimise existing inventories.’

With an eye on the business potential of CARBOCOUNT-CITY, project partner Astrium is targeting urban and regional markets with a likely interest in the project’s outcomes. Ile-de-France, where a climate plan exists for cutting GHG emissions by 25 per cent by 2020 compared to 2004 levels, is an obvious candidate.

‘Estimates suggest that 75 per cent of global GHG emissions stem from 100 urban or industrial hotspots’

Creating synergies

The project also sets out to create synergies with Los Angeles and Sao Paulo under the global Megacities programme umbrella while talking to other cities looking to reduce their GHG emissions.

‘This city focus really matters,’ says Irène Xueref-Remy, ‘because best estimates suggest that 75 per cent of global GHG emissions stem from 100 urban or industrial hotspots. So there’s a great deal of excitement about what we can do in our cities.’

Irène sees a ‘disconnect’ in the industrialised world between the volume of emissions generated and a collective sense of responsibility for them. ‘Lots of us don’t feel as concerned as we might because the consequences happen elsewhere,’ she says.

‘We’re seeing more and more extreme weather events causing heartache in the world, but we can all do our bit to help. This is a contribution we can all make. It’s about one plus one plus one.’