Recent studies and reports have been outlining the carbon footprints of cities worldwide.
In this guide, we list some of the cities with the largest carbon footprints.
Identifying the top greenhouse gas emitting cities is a good start in being able to come up with solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Summary – Cities With The Largest Emissions Footprints
- City carbon footprints can be measured in total emissions, and also per capita emissions
- What we also list below is that measuring emissions for a particular city can be complex and time consuming – so, data is always a guide only
- Read more about some of the potential solutions that cities might have available to address emissions in this guide
Cities That Emit The Most Greenhouse Gases & Carbon Dioxide (In Total)
The top 30 cities with the largest carbon footprints (in total carbon dioxide emissions) are:
- New York
- Hong Kong SAR
- Los Angeles
- Country Of Singapore
- Samut Prakan
- San Jose
- New Delhi
Cities That Emit The Most Greenhouse Gases & Carbon Dioxide (Per Person/Per Capita)
The top 30 cities with the largest carbon footprints per capita/person are:
- Hong Kong SAR
- Mohammed Bin Zayed City
- Abu Dhabi
- Country of Singapore
- Hulun Buir
- New Orleans
- Al Ain
- St Louis
- Kansas City
- Gold Coast
- Grand Rapids
A Note On Calculating The Carbon Footprints Of Cities
Calculations for carbon footprints are a guide only because of the data that might be included, and because of how complex and time consuming calculations can be.
For example, carbon footprints can be calculated with emissions from the production stage of goods and services (for example manufacturing a car), and also emissions from the consumption stage of goods and services (for example driving the car, getting it repaired, maintaining it, etc.). Some footprints only include one stage of the carbon lifecycle.
Also note that energy can be consumed and emissions produced within the city, off site at power plants, and off site at other locations (like people taking plane travel from the city to another location, waste being taken from the city and disposed of at landfills, and so on). Some calculations might only include emissions within the city.
Emissions can also be imported and exported between cities with the exportations and importation or outsourcing of goods and services.
There’s many calculations and variables that can make up a 100% accurate/precise city carbon footprint.
Always look at exactly what data and calculations a footprint involves to get an idea of what it’s representing.
3. Moran, D., Kanemoto K; Jiborn, M., Wood, R., Többen, J., and Seto, K.C. (2018) Carbon footprints of 13,000 cities. Environmental Research Letters DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/aac72a.