Date of Award

3-2014

Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning

Department

City and Regional Planning

Advisor

Dr. William Siembieda

Abstract

Reconstruction after natural disasters can represent large peaks in a community’s greenhouse gas emission inventory. Components of the built environment destroyed by natural hazards have their useful life shortened, requiring replacement before functionally necessary. Though the hazard itself does not release greenhouse gasses, the demolition and rebuilding process does, and these are the emissions we can quantify to better understand the climate impacts of disasters.

The proposed methodology draws data from existing emission and hazard resource literature and combines the information in a community scale life cycle assessment. Case studies of past disasters are used to refine the methodology and quantify the emissions of single events. The methodology is then annualized projecting the emissions of future hazards. The annualization of greenhouse gasses caused by hazard events provides a baseline from which reduction strategies can be measured against. Hazard mitigation strategies can then be quantified as greenhouse gas reduction strategies for use in Climate Action Plans.

The methodology combines the fields of climate action, hazard mitigation, and climate adaptation. Each field attempts to create sustainable and resilient communities, but most plans silo each discipline, missing opportunities that are mutually beneficial. Quantifying the greenhouse gasses associated with recovery following a disaster blends these fields to allow development of comprehensive resilience and sustainability strategies that lower greenhouse gases and decrease risk from existing or projected hazards.

An online supplement to this thesis is available online at disasterghg.wordpress.com

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