CPO’s Atmospheric Chemistry, Carbon Cycle, & Climate (AC4) program contributed to the support of a “Workshop on Human-Carbon Interactions in Urban Systems,” in which a number of NOAA scientists participated. The workshop took place from Oct. 16–18, 2013 in Boulder, Colo.
The goal was to begin the process of bridging the gap between the natural and social sciences on human-carbon interactions by examining the state of the science and gaps in knowledge on the social and physical factors that affect carbon dynamics in urban systems and decision-making feedbacks. The focus on urban systems and their surrounding land transformation was chosen to serve as a rich subset of the broader human-carbon interactions in an effort to simplify this first attempt at building and socializing an interdisciplinary research community.
The workshop attempted to address the following set of questions:
Given the current state of knowledge on the interaction of the carbon cycle and humans in urban systems, what are the greatest gaps in understanding or research emphasis?
Where would research be focused to close those gaps? What interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary areas require new or improved research to meet the goals of the US Carbon Cycle Science Plan relating to human-carbon interactions?
In practical terms, what useable information can the research community provide to stakeholders (practitioners, planners, policymakers) in urban systems to enable better carbon cycle policy or action/choices (e.g., low-carbon pathways, transit transportation systems)?
By bringing together the natural and social sciences the workshop sought: to better understand the interactions between humans and the carbon cycle; to assess research within the existing related fields; and to identify interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary areas requiring new or improved research to meet the goals of the U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Plan.
The outcome of the workshop can be a foundational paper that will serve as a basis for a truly integrated call or program on Human-Carbon Interactions in Urban Systems.