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How cities can achieve net zero emissions by measuring their emissions in real time
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How cities can achieve net zero emissions by measuring their emissions in real time

A Glasgow road


Like many cities across the world, Glasgow – host to the UN climate conference COP26 – has a target to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. This is a huge undertaking for any city. This means that emissions from homes, businesses and transport must be reduced. For offsetAs much as you can.

The biggest challenge for any city trying to reach net zero is to know exactly where its emissions are coming. The main ingredient in carbon dioxide Type of emissionGlobal warming is being caused by electricity generation and transport. main sources of CO₂ in the UK.

But CO₂ is not routinely measured in real time by city authorities anywhere in the world. Carbon emissions are often calculated using historical data about the amount of fossil fuels used locally for energy. The UK has two years to access this data after the emissions have been released.

Our pilot project in Glasgow, however, is trying to demonstrate that real time monitoring of CO₂ and other gases is not only achievable but is something all cities should do. Cities are responsible for monitoring CO2 and other gases globally. More than 70% of CO₂ emissions, making them instrumental in the fight against climate change.

A Glasgow road
The Glasgow project hopes to shed light on where the city’s emissions are really coming from.
Alex Liivet/Wikimedia

This project was led by the University of Strathclyde, we’re setting up a network of 25 sensors across the city to monitor CO₂, as well as other gases like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, nitrogen dioxide and ozone that can be very hazardousTo health.

Our scientists can get a very accurate picture of the pollutants in the city by placing sensors in dense networks that are approximately one mile apart. This information can then be compared with weather models in order to pinpoint where gases move or collect.

Air quality

For Glasgow’s citizens, this information is vital. This gives city leaders a better understanding of the actions that can lead to a sustained decrease in emissions.

For example, the city introduced Scotland’s first low emission zone2018 saw the introduction of restrictions on different types and types of traffic using the streets. The sensor project will monitor changes in nitrogen dioxide levels, helping leaders understand the effectiveness of this policy in reducing pollution.

This information is also valuable from an air quality perspective. Living in cities is becoming more concerned about polluted air. Health effects. Figures from Scotland demonstrate a 21% IncreaseBetween 2010 and 2020, there were a total of 58 cases of childhood cancers linked to air pollution. In 2020, an inquiry into the death of Ella Adoo Kissi-Debrah, nine-year-old, in London, revealed that air pollution was the cause. a firstUK law

An aerial view of air pollution in Taiwan
Cities around the world are facing significant problems from air pollution.
CSLMedia888/Flickr, CC BY -NC-SA

Since data collected by the project’s sensors will be made open and accessible to everyone online, citizens will be able to monitor the quality of the air they breathe as well as to keep track of measures to reduce emissions – giving them an opportunity to hold their leaders to account.

The team at the supplying sensors for the Glasgow Project are the sensors. University of California at BerkeleyThe company has operated its own sensor network in San Francisco Bay for the past eight years. Costing around £6,000 each, the sensors are much cheaper than traditional air quality Monitoring stations which can cost around £150,000. Instead, 25 sensors can instead be installed for the cost of one station.

During a pandemic Lockdown orders in California in 2020, when citizens were asked to remain at home, the university’s sensor network recorded a 25% reduction in CO₂ in the Bay area. This was almost entirely due a drop of approximately 50% in road traffic.

Data like this puts into perspective the role that citizens’ Transport options play in shaping a city’s emissions and air quality. This might be a good opportunity to make a decision about your individual contribution to climate change and community wellbeing. Alternative methodsThe importance of travel. It can also shine a spotlight on corporate and industrial sources. PollutionThese urgently require to be reduced.

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