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A holistic low carbon city indicator framework for sustainable development


  • Tan, Sieting
  • Yang, Jin
  • Yan, Jinyue
  • Lee, Chewtin
  • Hashim, Haslenda
  • Chen, Bin


Many cities are pursuing the low-carbon practices to reduce CO2 and other environmental emissions. However, it is still unclear which aspects a low-carbon city (LCC) covers and how to quantify and certify its low carbon level. In this paper, an indicator framework for the evaluation of LCC was established from the perspectives of Economic, Energy pattern, Social and Living, Carbon and Environment, Urban mobility, Solid waste, and Water. A comprehensive evaluation method was employed for LCC ranking by using the entropy weighting factor method. The benchmark values for LCC certification were also identified. The framework was applied to 10 global cities to rank their low-carbon levels. The comparison of cities at different levels of economic, social, and environmental development enhances the holistic of the study. The results showed that Stockholm, Vancouver, and Sydney ranked higher than the benchmark value, indicating these cities achieved a high level of low-carbon development. São Paulo, London, and Mexico City are still in the slow transition towards LCC. Beijing and New York each has much lower LCC level than the benchmark value due to the poor environmental performance and infrastructure supports caused by intensive human activities. The proposed indicator system serves as a guideline for the standardization of LCC and further identifies the key aspects of low-carbon management for different cities.

Suggested Citation

  • Tan, Sieting & Yang, Jin & Yan, Jinyue & Lee, Chewtin & Hashim, Haslenda & Chen, Bin, 2017. "A holistic low carbon city indicator framework for sustainable development," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 185(P2), pages 1919-1930.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:appene:v:185:y:2017:i:p2:p:1919-1930
    DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2016.03.041

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