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A Carbon Consumption Comparison of Rural and Urban Lifestyles

  • Jukka Heinonen

    ()

    (Aalto University School of Engineering, P.O. Box 11200, 00076 AALTO, Finland)

  • Seppo Junnila

    ()

    (Aalto University School of Engineering, P.O. Box 11200, 00076 AALTO, Finland)

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    Sustainable consumption has been addressed from different perspectives in numerous studies. Recently, urban structure-related lifestyle issues have gained more emphasis in the research as cities search for effective strategies to reduce their 80% share of the global carbon emissions. However, the prevailing belief often seen is that cities would be more sustainable in nature compared to surrounding suburban and rural areas. This paper will illustrate, by studying four different urban structure related lifestyles in Finland, that the situation might be reversed. Actually, substantially more carbon emissions seem to be caused on a per capita level in cities than in suburban and rural areas. This is mainly due to the higher income level in larger urban centers, but even housing-related emissions seem to favor less urbanized areas. The method of the study is a consumption-based life cycle assessment of carbon emissions. In more detail, a hybrid life cycle assessment (LCA) model, that is comprehensive in providing a full inventory and can accommodate process data, is utilized.

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    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 8 (August)
    Pages: 1234-1249

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:3:y:2011:i:8:p:1234-1249:d:13587
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    1. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew E. Kahn, 2008. "The Greenness of Cities: Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Urban Development," NBER Working Papers 14238, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Weber, Christopher L. & Matthews, H. Scott, 2008. "Quantifying the global and distributional aspects of American household carbon footprint," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 379-391, June.
    3. Manfred Lenzen & Lise-Lotte Pade & Jesper Munksgaard, 2004. "CO2 Multipliers in Multi-region Input-Output Models," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 391-412.
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