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Cities with the largest carbon footprint

June 26, 2018

A dubious distinction: top 10 cities with largest carbon footprint. Asia, the United States and the Middle East host the highest emitters — can you guess which world cities are worst for the climate?

USA Los Angeles Luftverschmutzung
Image: picture-alliance/Bildagentur-online/Rossi

Boring name, interesting findings: The Global Gridded Model of Carbon Footprints provides a new analysis of the carbon footprint of cities around the world. 

Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) crunched some big data, surveying the carbon footprints of 13,000 cities worldwide.

As it turns out, just 100 cities around the world account for 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

Flick through our picture gallery above to see the top emitting cities in absolute numbers.

Here's the list per capita:

  1. Hong Kong, China
  2. Mohammed Bin Zayed City, UAE
  3. Abu Dhabi, UAE
  4. Singapore
  5. Hulun Buir, China
  6. Al-Jahrah, Kuwait
  7. Litong, China
  8. New Orleans, United States
  9. Detroit, United States
  10. Tongliao, China

Building eco-metropolises

Urban areas are home to about 54 percent of total global population and account for more than 70 percent of global energy use, according to the researchers.

Within most countries, the top three urban areas drive more than a quarter of national emissions.

"Concerted action by a small number of local mayors and governments can significantly reduce national total carbon footprints," said Daniel Moran, the lead author in the paper. 

Read more: Forget Trump, it's all about local climate action