How Does Building a New Suburb Affect the Atmosphere?

A team of scientists at the University of Utah as well as several other universities decided to take a closer look at the effects of expanding suburban communities near Salt Lake City, UT over the past decade. The atmospheric researchers found that “carbon dioxide emissions increased as suburban areas developed to the southwest of Salt Lake City, while comparable population growth in the center of the city did not have the same effect.” ERG alumnus Chris Jones added that this conclusion is logical, considering that these previously rural areas experienced huge population growth compared to the city’s center, in percentage terms. And that “of course, if you put more people where there weren’t people before, you’re going to have more emissions.”

“It’s the latest evidence highlighting the environmental consequences of suburban expansion, often accompanied by more miles driven by cars and larger free-standing homes that require more energy for heating and cooling. As cities become a central focal point for action on climate change, the ways in which they manage their growth will be a key question.”

The full Washington Post article can be found here.