Testing theories to explore the drivers of cities' atmospheric emissions

AMS Citation:
Lankao, P. R., J. L. Tribbia, and D. Nychka, 2009: Testing theories to explore the drivers of cities' atmospheric emissions. AMBIO, 38, 236-244, doi:10.1579/0044-7447-38.4.236.
Date:2009-06-01
Resource Type:article
Title:Testing theories to explore the drivers of cities' atmospheric emissions
Abstract: Despite a growing body of evidence demonstrating the importance of cities as sources of many local, regional, and global impacts on the atmosphere, ecosystems, and human populations, most theories on the relationship between society and the environment have focused on the global or national level. A variety of theories exist on human?environment interactions; for example, ecological modernization, urban transitions, and human ecology. However, with the exception of urban transitions, these theories have been mainly concerned with nation states and have ignored the subnational and local (city) levels. This article aims at filling this gap by employing ordinary least squares regression to examine these theories at the city level using the STIRPAT formula. It finds that with the exception of population (which shows an unstable relationship with the impacts indicators applied in the analysis) a remarkable level of variation exists in the importance of drivers across the three exercises. This led us to conclude that urban atmospheric pollutants result from diverse activities (e.g., transportation, industrial), are formed through different processes (vehicle combustion, biomass burning), have a residence time ranging from hours to years, and are the outcome of diverse sets of societal and environmental drivers.
Peer Review:Refereed
Copyright Information:Copyright Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2009.
OpenSky citable URL: ark:/85065/d7mw2j59
Publisher's Version: 10.1579/0044-7447-38.4.236
Author(s):
  • Patricia Lankao - NCAR/UCAR
  • John Tribbia - NCAR/UCAR
  • Doug Nychka - NCAR/UCAR
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