Over the past decades, Asia has undergone rapid urbanization. This transformation has accompanied increased energy demand and subsequent greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. For example, from 1990 to 2010, the number of urban residents in Asia grew by over 800 million, increasing the Asian share of global urban population from 45 to 52% while Asian CO2 emissions increased from 6 Gt to 14 Gt, increasing its share of global GHG emissions from 39 to 54%. Further urbanization portends even higher emission levels. The recent Paris Agreement (2015) has drawn attention to the dramatic actions necessary to keep emissions low and therefore climate stable. Organizations such as UN-HABITAT and UNESCAP (through the creation of the Northeast Asia Low Carbon Cities platform) and Asian governments are moving to develop low carbon cities. Application of mitigation policy for low carbon societies is complicated, however, by the unique regional development conditions (socially, physically, economically and politically). Policies appropriate elsewhere may not work in the Asian context making it necessary to understand the historical dynamics associated with regional urban development, energy use and GHG emissions. To address this challenge, we propose urban case study historical analyses of emissions and their driving forces in Asian cities.