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The Greenness of Cities: Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Urban Development

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  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • Matthew E. Kahn

Abstract

Carbon dioxide emissions may create significant social harm because of global warming, yet American urban development tends to be in low density areas with very hot summers. In this paper, we attempt to quantify the carbon dioxide emissions associated with new construction in different locations across the country. We look at emissions from driving, public transit, home heating, and household electricity usage. We find that the lowest emissions areas are generally in California and that the highest emissions areas are in Texas and Oklahoma. There is a strong negative association between emissions and land use regulations. By restricting new development, the cleanest areas of the country would seem to be pushing new development towards places with higher emissions. Cities generally have significantly lower emissions than suburban areas, and the city-suburb gap is particularly large in older areas, like New York.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14238.

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Date of creation: Aug 2008
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Publication status: published as Glaeser, Edward L. & Kahn, Matthew E., 2010. "The greenness of cities: Carbon dioxide emissions and urban development," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 404-418, May.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14238

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  1. Auffhammer, Maximilian & Carson, Richard Taylor, 2004. "Forecasting the path of China's CO2 emissions using province level information," CUDARE Working Paper Series 0971, University of California at Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Policy, revised 2007.
  2. Nicholas Stern, 2008. "The Economics of Climate Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 1-37, May.
  3. Martin L. Weitzman, 2007. "A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 703-724, September.
  4. Stephen P. Holland & Erin T. Mansur, 2007. "Is Real-Time Pricing Green? The Environmental Impacts of Electricity Demand Variance," NBER Working Papers 13508, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko & Raven Saks, 2003. "Why is Manhattan So Expensive? Regulation and the Rise in House Prices," NBER Working Papers 10124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Edward L. Glaeser, 1998. "Are Cities Dying?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 139-160, Spring.
  7. Marcy Burchfield & Henry G. Overman & Diego Puga & Matthew A. Turner, 2005. "Causes of sprawl: A portrait from space," Working Papers tecipa-192, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  8. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Selden, Thomas M., 1995. "Stoking the fires? CO2 emissions and economic growth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 85-101, May.
  9. Tol, Richard S. J., 2005. "The marginal damage costs of carbon dioxide emissions: an assessment of the uncertainties," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(16), pages 2064-2074, November.
  10. Arik Levinson, 2001. "Energy Use By Apartment Tenants When Landlords Pay For Utilities," Working Papers gueconwpa~01-01-09, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  11. William D. Nordhaus, 2007. "A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 686-702, September.
  12. Glaeser, Edward L. & Ward, Bryce A., 2009. "The causes and consequences of land use regulation: Evidence from Greater Boston," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 265-278, May.
  13. Antonio M. Bento & Maureen L. Cropper & Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak & Katja Vinha, 2005. "The Effects of Urban Spatial Structure on Travel Demand in the United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 466-478, August.
  14. Edward L. Glaeser & Kristina Tobio, 2008. "The Rise of the Sunbelt," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 610-643, January.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Derek Jeter's Carbon Footprint
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2011-02-27 21:12:00
  2. Green Housing Development in the San Francisco Bay Area
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2010-06-03 17:01:00
  3. Professor Mitchell Moss Debates Matthew Broderick Over the Future of NYU's Expansion Plans
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2012-07-01 17:39:00
  4. Some Links for Today
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2011-08-20 18:13:00
  5. Center City Job Growth Caused by High Quality of Life Downtown
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2011-06-08 14:25:00
  6. Ranking Cities
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2011-05-04 04:14:00
  7. Ed Glaeser's "Triumph of the City" is Published!
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2011-02-10 15:15:00
  8. The Solution to Pollution is Still Dilution: The Case for Sprawl Rests on Second Hand Smoke in Multi-Family Apartment Housing
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2010-12-14 00:56:00
  9. Do Liberal Cities Block New Housing Development?
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2010-11-25 01:53:00
  10. Low Carbon Cities in the U.S and China
    by Matthew Kahn in the reality-based community on 2011-02-26 17:31:17
  11. Journey to the Center of Los Angeles
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2012-04-27 22:08:00
  12. Some Economics of the Green Partisan Divide
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Legal Planet on 2012-09-03 15:55:52
  13. The Rise of the Low Carbon Consumer City
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Legal Planet on 2013-01-26 20:17:25
  14. My Harvard Business Review Blog Piece on China's Bullet Trains and a History of My Economic Thought About China
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2013-04-08 15:50:00
  15. Exploring Green Cities in China
    by Matthew Kahn in Urbanization Project on 2013-04-09 23:17:09
  16. Celebrity Lobbying as an Impediment to Increasing Center City Density
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Legal Planet on 2013-07-18 23:07:27
  17. Chapter 12: California Environmentalism
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2013-08-18 18:30:00
  18. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Becker's Household Production Theory
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2014-06-05 16:08:00
  19. Krugman on Carbon Mitigation, Self Interest and Ideology
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2014-06-09 17:37:00
  20. The Consequences of Ideology
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2014-08-13 15:18:00
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