How can carbon dioxide emissions be reduced to zero in metropolitan areas?

چگونه می‌توان تولید دی‌اکسید کربن را در کلان شهرها به صفر رساند؟

If you read a little about the environment and the factors that affect it, you know that humans, especially the urban population, greatly increase the production of carbon dioxide, which is a very big problem for the environment and can be a serious threat. How do you think carbon dioxide emissions in urban areas can be reduced to zero or at least reduced? In this article, we intend to answer this question.

More than half of the world’s population now lives in urban areas, and it is estimated that 68% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by the middle of this century. Given that currently 60% of the world’s greenhouse gases are produced in urban areas, naturally, as the population of urban areas of the world increases, so does the production of these gases, and the negative human impact on the climate increases.

Residents of urban areas are among the world’s population who feel the acute negative effects of climate change before others; Because the use of large volumes of concrete, iron and metal in urban areas causes the absorption, diffusion and reflection of a lot of heat in these areas. In addition, major problems such as water shortages and increasing air pollution make life in large urban areas unbearable.

Of course, the authorities of some big cities are taking measures to counteract the increase in carbon dioxide production and even stop this happening. Officials in 25 metropolitan areas have now pledged to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in their cities to zero by 2050. These cities include Rio de Janeiro, New York, Paris, Oslo, Mexico City, Melbourne, London, Milan, Captain, Caracas, Copenhagen and Vancouver.

If such an ambitious goal of the researcher and the production of carbon dioxide in urban areas is completely stopped, the rate of global warming will be limited to 1.5 degrees by 2050. Certainly, the authorities of other metropolises of the world must also take the necessary measures to achieve this goal; But you may ask yourself, what are the solutions to achieve such a great goal in metropolitan areas?

One of the biggest problems in metropolitan areas is the production of large amounts of carbon dioxide by vehicles. Officials in many cities are now trying to reduce the production of carbon dioxide and other pollutants by these devices. One of the most effective measures in this field is the creation and expansion of areas where only vehicles have the right to travel that produce very little carbon dioxide (these areas are known as ultra-Low Emission Zones or ULEZ areas); These areas have developed in many European cities and have expanded considerably; London, for example, is one of the cities with ULEZ. The area was initially the only city center; But over time, its size increased 18 times and is now the largest ULEZ in Europe.

The purpose of creating such areas is to encourage people to use relatively clean vehicles that produce very little carbon dioxide; But in the production process of these vehicles, carbon dioxide is still produced.

Officials in many cities are urging people to stop using cars altogether and turn to bicycles to combat carbon emissions; For example, a 650-kilometer bike lane is currently under construction in Paris, and Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, has announced that she intends to ride a bike by 2026, taking advantage of a new plan. In Bogota, the capital of Colombia, there is also a 120-kilometer bike path.

Cyclists in Paris
In cities like Paris, the rate of cycling has increased during the Corona Pandemic, and a large number of bicycle rental stations have been set up for cyclists.

Researchers have warned that encouraging people to ride bicycles is not a good way to completely stop carbon dioxide emissions in urban areas, and it takes a long time to motivate city dwellers to use bicycles and stay away from cars; But UN officials say policymakers can make people interested in cycling in the short term by taking advantage of behavioral approaches; City officials can make cycling on city routes easier for people by setting up and increasing the number of bicycle rental stations. They should also provide people with easy access to the equipment needed for easier cycling.

High energy consumption for building construction, maintenance and cooling and heating is another major source of carbon monoxide production in urban areas. In 2015, buildings generated 38% of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions, and most of the carbon dioxide generated by buildings is related to the time after they were completed.

Heating, cooling and providing other necessary forces for the building requires a lot of energy; However, some companies in the field of building construction have also considered the use of renewable energy sources for space heating and cooling in their designs; But many buildings still use fossil fuels to provide the power they need, and to stop carbon dioxide emissions from buildings, their dependence on fossil fuels must be reduced as much as possible.

At the Energon office building in Ulm, southern Germany, efforts have been made to use natural energy sources for cooling and heating. The cooling and heating system of this building consists of a number of underground channels that suck the air entering the building and cool it in winter and cool it in summer. In these underground canals, rods up to 100 meters deep are embedded in the ground to heat or cool the air by taking advantage of the earth’s natural temperature. The energy consumption of the Energy Office building has been reduced by 75% compared to the energy used in conventional buildings for cooling and heating, thanks to the use of such an innovative system.

Singapore officials often welcome sustainable development projects, and the city is one of the leading cities in this field; Unfortunately, air conditioners and air conditioners are widely used in this city and 99% of its buildings are equipped with these systems. To encourage people to use less expensive air conditioning systems in their buildings, the city’s construction authorities classify buildings with a Green Mark.

It is interesting to know that during the construction process of buildings, a lot of carbon dioxide is produced and the materials used in buildings are also involved in creating carbon dioxide by them. 11% of carbon dioxide produced is due to energy consumption, the result of construction and use of concrete and steel for buildings. .

If the construction of buildings with concrete and steel continues with the current trend, the annual production of carbon dioxide by 2050 will reach 544 million tons. Concrete and steel are currently the source of 16% of the world’s total carbon dioxide. The use of wood for construction and the increase in its use will worsen the situation and increase the annual production of carbon dioxide to 617 million tons by 2050; Because to increase wood production, naturally, more trees must be cut down. As you know, trees absorb much of the carbon dioxide released into the air, and if they are cut down, it will take decades to replace them; Therefore, the only way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by buildings is to reduce construction, and there is no other effective way to deal with this problem.

Concrete buildings
Concrete is one of the most commonly used building materials worldwide; But it is also a major source of carbon dioxide

Officials in some metropolitan areas have tried to reduce carbon dioxide emissions as much as possible by using natural methods; In Colombia, the capital of Colombia, for example, 30 green corridors have been built around 18 roads and 12 waterways, planting 8,300 trees and 350,000 shrubs.

Green corridors

These green corridors have been able to reduce the temperature of the surrounding areas by two degrees Celsius. According to Benz Kotzen, an assistant professor at the University of Greenwich School of Design, residents of cities with artificial urban textures, such as Colombia’s Medellin, often encounter an annoying phenomenon called urban heat islands. This phenomenon occurs when the hard materials used to build urban textures and buildings absorb heat and cause cities to rise in temperature. One way to deal with this problem is to replace these sections with green and natural textures such as roof gardens (creating green space on the roofs of buildings) and creating green walls made up of plants.

According to Katzen, the use of natural green spaces can solve many problems and even increase the biodiversity of cities. In addition, the leaves of green space plants can both absorb the heat of the environment and reduce the temperature, and also have the ability to absorb some pollutant particles in the air.

Koon Hean, an architect and urban planning specialist at the Innovative Cities at Singapore University of Technology and Design, believes that the use of green spaces in Singapore It is necessary to reduce the city’s reliance on air conditioning systems. Until recently, he chaired the Housing Development Board. The delegation was set up to help provide and build government housing in Singapore

Singapore’s buildings are said to be designed to make the most of natural air conditioning. “Singapore is a city with a high density and a hot and humid climate,” he said. Naturally, with the increase in the population of this city, the construction in it will increase a lot and its air will be warmer in the same proportion.

Certainly, to solve such a big problem, a solution or basic and practical solutions must be used; Of course, effective measures have been taken in this direction in this city; For example, a green wall has been erected in front of the Oasia Hotel in Singapore to help cool the building. Using this method, the temperature of the outside surface of the hotel building has reached 28 degrees Celsius; While the outside surface temperature of a metal-coated building is about 42 degrees Celsius.

Green building in Singapore
Designers and urban planners in Singapore are trying to tackle air pollution and rising temperatures by planting plants in front of buildings.

Of course, metropolitan authorities can only use the resources of their cities and their climatic characteristics to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In many cities, climatic features have been well used to combat carbon dioxide emissions; Copenhagen city officials, for example, plan to install 360 wind turbines around the city by 2025 to supply most of the city’s electricity needs. The interior of the Museum of Tomorrow will be cooled using the water of the nearby Guanabara Bay.

To reduce carbon emissions to zero, city officials and experts have to balance countless benefits and systems, some of which are beyond their control.

According to Stefan Knupfer, an employee of McKinsey’s company, one of the leading companies in the field of evaluating management decisions in the public and private sectors, believes that in order to achieve this goal, relations between the public sector must be achieved. And strengthen urban privacy.

He says in this regard:

“From the past until now, the public and private sectors at the urban level have not participated with each other; But the public sector needs to acquire knowledge and expertise in new technologies belonging to the private sector, and to achieve this goal must seek the help of people active in the private sector; “For example, it is almost impossible for public sector officials to understand the potential capabilities of self-driving car technology in electric vehicles, and they have to enlist the help of people in the private sector to gain expertise in this area.”

According to Knapepe, cities such as New York and Paris have specific plans for sustainability (urban development and meeting its needs without harming the environment), and if city officials do not have a plan for this purpose, private sector investors will not be willing to invest; Because investing requires predictable plans.

He also believes that city officials should focus only on areas that need improvement, and this is very important.

In 2017, he explored many tools to improve the sustainability of cities and introduced 12 innovative ways to stop carbon dioxide emissions in cities, including reducing carbon dioxide emissions by power grids, optimizing energy consumption in buildings, and using standard vehicles. Transport systems that produce less carbon dioxide and use better methods to manage and dispose of waste.

He believes that city officials should use methods to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in cities that have the fastest effect; Because there is not much time left to reduce the severity of the worst negative effects of global warming.

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