Anthropogenic emission inventory and spatial analysis of greenhouse gases and primary pollutants for the Galapagos Islands

San Cristóbal Island


Climate change and air pollution are critical challenges that humanity is currently facing. Understanding the sources of emissions released into the atmosphere is of great importance to evaluate the local footprint, the impacts of human activities, and the opportunities to develop and implement solutions to mitigate emissions and adapt to climate change particularly in vulnerable places like the Galapagos Islands. In this study, we present an anthropogenic emissions inventory for Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, and Isabela Islands in which emissions were spatially mapped for greenhouse gasses (GHGs) and primary pollutants (PP). Emissions were estimated for the energy stationary sources, energy mobile sources, waste, and other sectors, and emissions for 2019 were spatially distributed along with an uncertainty assessment. Results demonstrated that energy mobile sources which are aerial, terrestrial, and maritime transportation generated the most significant emissions in the Galapagos Islands in terms of PP and GHGs. In fact, maritime transportation was the highest one in 2019, at 41% of total CO2 emissions for Galapagos, with the most predominant PP being NOx and CO. The aerial transportation made up 36% of emissions, and the electricity generation contributed 15%. Emissions from waste and other sectors comprise a smaller percentage relative to the rest of the emission sectors. These results highlight the strong dependency of the islands on fossil fuels for transportation and electricity generation. Alternatives to mitigate and reduce emissions from the islands are discussed. This spatially mapped emissions inventory for the Galapagos Islands represents a powerful tool to make informed decisions to contribute to the long-term sustainability of the archipelago.

Read the article in the link:

Recent Posts


Follow Us

Scroll to Top

In 2022, the Galapagos Science Center (GSC) and the broader UNC & USFQ Galapagos Initiative will celebrate its 10th Anniversary. We are proud to announce the World Summit on Island Sustainability scheduled to be held on June 26–30, 2022 at the Galapagos Science Center and the Community Convention Center on San Cristobal Island.

The content of the World Summit will be distributed globally through social media and results documented through papers published in a book written as part of the Galapagos Book Series by Springer Nature and edited by Steve Walsh (UNC) & Carlos Mena (USFQ) as well as Jill Stewart (UNC) and Juan Pablo Muñoz (GSC/USC). The book will be inclusive and accessible by the broader island community including scientists, managers, residents, tourists, and government and non-government organizations.

While the most obvious goal of organizing the World Summit on Island Sustainability is to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the GSC and the UNC-USFQ Galapagos Initiative, other goals will be addressed through special opportunities created as part of our operational planning of the World Summit.

For instance, we seek to elevate and highlight the Galapagos in the island conservation discourse, seeking to interact with other island networks in more obvious and conspicuous ways to benefit the Galapagos Islands, the UNC-USFQ Galapagos Initiative, and the world. We will seize the opportunity to further develop the I2N2 – International Islands Network-of-Networks. Further, we wish to highlight and emphasize multiple visions of a sustainable future for the Galapagos Islands and we cannot do this alone. Therefore, engaging the Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Tourism, the Government Council of Galapagos, the Galapagos National Park, and local Galapagos authorities, including government and non-government organizations and local citizen groups, is imperative.

The Galapagos Science Center on San Cristobal Island, Galapagos

Borrowing from Hawaii’s and Guam’s Green Growth Program and the Global Island Partnership, we wish to examine existing global programs that emphasize island sustainability and their incorporation into life, policies, and circumstances in the Galapagos Islands. We will also seek to enhance our connections with the institutional members of our International Galapagos Science Consortium and expand the Consortium through the recruitment of other member institutions. We will also work to benefit islands and their local communities by working with citizen groups as well as important NGOs who seek to improve the natural conditions in the Galapagos and diminish the impact of the human dimension on the future of Galapagos’ ecosystems.

Lastly, we will use the World Summit to benefit UNC & USFQ and our constituencies through a strong and vibrant communication plan about the World Summit, creating corporate relationships as sponsors, identifying funding goals through donors, and benefiting our study abroad program for student engagement in the Galapagos Islands. We plan to develop and issue a Galapagos Sustainability Communique after the World Summit that includes the vision and insights of all its participants for a sustainable Galapagos with applicability to global island settings.

We are eager to hear your perspective and have you join us at the World Summit on Island Sustainability!