Only 25 cities produce more than half of the world’s greenhouse gases

An investigation published in the journal Frontiers in Sustainable Cities analyzes the production of greenhouse gases (GHG) in 167 cities around the world, of which only 25 are responsible for 52% of carbon emissions. The conclusions of the study show that, despite the fact that “Asian cities are the largest emitters”, GHG productions from cities in developed countries are still the highest. For the authors, the work has been carried out in order to mitigate and reduce emissions by studying the “effectiveness of historical carbon reduction policies”.

These 25 polluting areas are mainly concentrated in China, Japan, and European countries such as Russia and Turkey; although also others such as Germany, Greece, Italy or France. Regarding Spain, no city is among the 25 most polluting, although Madrid and Barcelona stand out as cities in developed countries that emit this type of gases.

According the United Nations report published in 2020, Emissions Gap Report, by the end of the 21st century the global temperature will increase by more than 3 ° C, while the objectives agreed in the Paris Agreement of 2015 limited this increase to below 2 ° C and pursued 1.5 ° C.

In the work of researchers Ting Wei, Junliang Wu and Shaoqing Chen, it is indicated that, although there is approximately “a 66% chance of reaching the goal of less than 2 ° C” when cities prioritize “green recovery”, cities Current measures are “insufficient to reach that 1.5 ° C”. In other words, if the objective set by the Paris Agreement is to be achieved, “greater and sustainable efforts are needed throughout the world,” they point out.

Likewise, Chen and his team point out that, despite the fact that only a few cities expel large amounts of pollutants, it is regions around the world that suffer the consequences of climate change, such as “extreme temperatures, large fires and loss of biodiversity “. These events will be even more devastating in poor regions, which will be “possibly the most vulnerable,” they say in the document.

On the other hand, more than 40 countries have announced their “carbon neutrality commitments”, and “most” European cities are seeking carbon neutrality by 2050, such as Copenhagen, which aspires to be the first capital with neutral emissions in 2025.


The recommendations proposed by the scientists point to the control of stationary energies, those generated in buildings and facilities, and those related to transport. Specifically, the team establishes three main lines of action: first, to identify the “key sectors” in the pollution of cities; as well as the development of global emissions inventories and the tracking and monitoring to know whether or not the pollutant reduction objectives are being met.

Likewise, other measures are proposed such as “promoting energy audits in buildings”; decrease “unnecessary construction”; or promoting ‘green traffic’ and replacing fossil fuels with another type of energy, such as that based on hydrogen or biofuel.


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