Detroit Climate Action Collaborative (DCAC) -- Green House Gas Inventory for Municipal government (2014)

Client Organization: 
Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice
Project Location : 
Ann Arbor, MI and Detroit, MI
Summary of Project Idea: 

This project is the first study to quantify local greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by activity and source at both citywide and municipal scales for the City of Detroit, a key step in developing local strategies that address climate change.

As risks from climate change and local climate impacts have become more common, cities around the world have embraced the importance of local and regional Climate Action Plans, as well as policies to mitigate GHG emissions and to adapt to the effects of climate change. In Detroit and Michigan more broadly, impacts of climate change have begun to strain the capacity of the electricity grid, increase health-related ailments caused by poor air quality and heat waves, change agricultural practices and yields, and make transportation within the Great Lakes more difficult as water levels decrease (US EPA 2013, Gregg et al. 2012).

The City of Detroit is home to approximately 710,000 residents, a growing number of corporate headquarters and small businesses, and a vibrant community of citizens working hard to improve the long-term sustainability of the city. However, Detroit is also in the midst of confronting myriad social, economic, and environmental challenges. Climate change exacerbates many of these challenges, and comprehensive, collaborative climate mitigation and adaptation actions can have co-benefits that improve social, economic, and other environmental issues.

The Detroit GHG inventory accounts for emissions generated from energy use in buildings and facilities and the transportation sector, waste and water management, as well as emissions sequestered by land use. The purpose of this inventory is to provide a baseline from which GHG emissions reduction targets can be created and from which the effects of climate actions or policy changes can be measured. This work also complements efforts of the Detroit Climate Action Collaborative (DCAC), informing the ongoing development of a formal Climate Action Plan for the city.

The research team has actively engaged stakeholders in Detroit, including the municipal government, nonprofits, businesses, and community organizations throughout the data collection, analysis, and writing process, seeking ways to ensure that future inventories are conducted regularly and are useful in decision-making. This effort to help DCAC institutionalize the inventory process will support and encourage long-term planning related to climate mitigation and adaptation in the City of Detroit. 

SEAS Program Areas: 
Environmental Policy and Planning
Sustainable Systems
SEAS Faculty Advisor: 
Greg Keoleian and Rosina Bierbaum
Master Students Involved in Project: 
  • Jill Carlson, MS Sustainable Systems 
  • Jenny Cooper, MBA/MS Sustainable Systems 
  • Marie Donahue, MS Environmental Policy and Planning 
  • Max Neale, MS Environmental Policy and Planning 
  • Anis Ragland, MS Environmental Policy and Planning 
Project Status: 
Past Project