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U-M Grad Students Chart Detroit's Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Nov 10, 2014

Citywide greenhouse gas emissions in Detroit, 2012, by ZIP code. Amounts are expressed in millions of metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents.
Credit U-M/SNRE Detroit GHG Inventory Project Team.

A detailed inventory of the sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Detroit has never been done - until now.  A team of University of Michigan graduate students in the School of Natural Resources and Environment spent over a year measuring carbon emissions in Detroit and identifying their sources.

Credit flickr.com


Robb DeKleine is a research specialist at U-of-M's Center for Sustainable Systems, and advisor for the students. 

He says it's difficult to attack a problem like greenhouse gas emissions without first measuring it.

"The purpose of this project is to really get a solid understanding of where Detroit's greenhouse gas emissions are - what are the sources - and then the follow-up step would be to look at that and find ways, opportunities, strategies to further reduce that," DeKleine says.

The inventory found nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gasses produced in Detroit came from energy use in buildings. 

Exhaust from cars, trucks and busses accounted for about 30 percent of the total. 

DeKleine says the group Detroit Climate Action Collaborative will now work with city officials to identify areas where energy use can be reduced, cutting down on greenhouse gasses and lowering energy costs.