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

Client Organization: 
Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice
Client is confirmed: 
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. 

Skills/Expertise Needed: 
  • Prior experience working with environmental issues/ or knowledge of environmental issues
  • Solid writing, computer and analytical skills
  • Ability to work with and interpret large amounts of numerical data
  • Ability to graphically represent data in graphs and tables
  • Ability to provide quality control and assurance for work
  • Experience presenting in meetings and collaborating with workgroups
  • Assertive personality, and strong people skills critical for working with city departments and diverse personalities
  • Self starter
  • General understanding of climate science and impacts
SEAS Program Areas: 
Environmental Policy and Planning
Sustainable Systems
Professional Career Development Benefits: 
  • Improve networking skills and expand career network by interacting with key city department leaders and other key stakeholders
  • Increase knowledge of environmental justice
  • Enhance research and analytical skills
  • Make presentations to key stakeholder groups to discuss key findings
  • Data collected from GHG Inventory will be included in the Climate Action Report, with mention of student's names, which will be presented to city government leadership and other elected leaders (County and State)
Identify expected products/deliverables: 
  • GHG Inventory at municipal and citywide scales
  • A detailed report identifying results from the GHG Inventory
  • Policy recommendations based on the inventory results
  • Spatial analysis of GHG emissions and the implications for human health
Contact full name: 
Kimberly Hill Knott
Job title: 
DCAC Project Facilitator
State or Country: 
SEAS Faculty Advisor: 
Greg Keoleian and Rosina Bierbaum
Contact Phone: 
(313) 833-3935
Advisor Confirmed: 
Contact e-mail: 
Contact information: 
Our Organization has been an SNRE master's project client in a previous year
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 
Email the SNRE student team:
Project Status: 
Past Project