Urban Policy Effects on Carbon Mitigation
The geographical location of economic activity within the United States has important implications for carbon mitigation. If households clustered in California's cities rather than in more humid southern cities such as Memphis and Houston, then the average household carbon footprint would be lower. Such households would consume less electricity and this power would be generated by cleaner electric utilities. Within metropolitan areas, urban economic theory predicts that households create less greenhouse gas emissions when they live closer to the city center. This study uses three data sets reporting on household driving, public transit use and residential electricity consumption to provide evidence in support of the claim of a negative association between center city living and a household's carbon footprint.
I thank Varun Mehra, Frank Wolak and Catherine Wolfram for useful comments. I thank the UCLA Ziman Real Estate Center for generous research support. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Urban Policy Effects on Carbon Mitigation, Matthew E. Kahn. in The Design and Implementation of U.S. Climate Policy, Fullerton and Wolfram. 2012