Simplifying City Carbon Budgets
Carbon Budgets are central to effective net zero planning. While the literature is well established, the tools to easily, transparently and consistently calculate them have been missing. Until now.
A fully documented Carbon Budget API for Swedish municipalities. Released under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.
Simplifying city-level attribution
The global Carbon Budget of how much more carbon we can emit is calculable, and several Carbon Budgets have been suggested by the IPPC as mechanisms for limiting global temperature rise. However, calculating how much of this budget should be allocated to each nation, and then further divided within each nation to a regional or city level, is a more complex process.
To attribute the Carbon Budget to the municipality-level, ClimateView has built on the work of Stoddard & Anderson at CEMUS, Uppsala University to create a programmable and repeatable calculation approach.
The equity attribution principle used in this method for the API is ‘grandfathering’.
With each budget comes four scenarios for how the municipality could spend this budget. Key figures about the budget are given for each scenario (e.g. when zero emissions is reached, how much CO2 will be spent etc.). A series of yearly emissions (starting at the first year of the budget) are also given to indicate the CO2 emissions each year of consuming the remaining budget.
Linear Emission Reduction Scenario.
The budget is spent using a linear cut-down from current emissions level, reducing the amount of emitted CO2 by the same absolute amount each year. This linear cut-down reaches zero emission at the same moment in time that the budget is spent.
Exponential Emission Reduction Scenario.
The budget is spent using a cut-down of emissions, from the current emission level, by the same percent each year. The actual yearly cut-down in percentage needed to stay within budget can be calculated (a mathematical integral). However, as exponential cut-down will not ever reach zero emissions, a cut off level is used, so that the series of yearly emission becomes finite. The cut off is given as a fraction of the last known historic emission and is part of the data returned from the API. Currently a fraction of 0.01 is used.
Trend Based Emissions Scenario Limited by Budget.
The budget is spent according to the trend of the historic emissions. The series of yearly emissions are ended when the budget is spent or when zero emissions are reached (whichever happens first). For a municipality where the trend is not to clearly cut down on emissions, this would mean the series of yearly emissions would end abruptly without being anywhere near zero emissions.
Trend Based Emissions Scenario Limited by Zero Emissions or End Year.
This series of yearly emission is showing the future trend of the municipality regardless of budget. The series of emissions will end at a given end year (currently 2050) if zero emissions are not reached by then.
About the data
The data used to calculate the city Carbon Budget in the API comes from the following sources:
- SMHIs National Emissions Database - Nationella emitionsdatabasen
- Sweden’s total Carbon Budget - provided by CEMUS, Uppsala University
- Cement data for Sweden comes from:
See our City Carbon Budget calculations in action for Swedish municipalities on the Swedish Climate Checker website: KlimatKollen.se →
Read more about the project here →