Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Top 6 Green Cities in the World

Around the world, people are embracing the need to go green. Scientists have shown that carbon parts per million has been on the steady rise in the past century and that global temperatures are increasing. They predict that we must reduce our carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 to prevent life-threatening climate change. If global temperatures continue to increase, ecosystems will collapse, farming will fail, and sea levels will rise. So what is the world doing about it?

Earthtechling did a study and found the top 6 cities in leading the green revolution are New York City, Vancouver, Copenhagen, London, Amsterdam, and Stockholm. These cities have made it a priority to reduce their carbon footprint through several means and are setting examples for other cities to follow.

NYC Million Trees Program Passes Halfway Mark
New York Million Trees Program- Source

  1. New York City - New York City has a population density of over 69,000 people per square mile, making it the most dense city in America. Mayor Bloomberg has lead several campaigns to reduce New York's carbon footprint. With high availability of public transportation, only 44% of New Yorkers use cars, compared with 95% of Americans. 37% of residents take public transportation to work, including walking, cycling, or taking the bus or subway. The city also operates 855 hybrid buses, making it the city with the largest electric bus fleet. Mayor Bloomberg has set a goal of planting 1 million new trees, with 500,000 already planted. He has also recently introduced the Citi Bike Share Program, with thousands of bikes being added to the city for public use. 
  2. Vancouver- Vancouver is the most energy efficient city among the six leaders. They use 32.5GJ of energy per person per year (compared with 104.88GJ in Stockholm). 90% of Vancouver's energy is generated from renewable sources, mainly hydroelectric. Vancouver has also introduced a metering system that reduces water consumption by 17% per family. Vancouver residents can also receive grants of up to $3500 to install solar powered hot water systems.
  3. Copenhagen- Copenhagen has recently introduced a policy that requires all new buildings to contain green roofs. Additionally, 68% of their residents take public transportation to work and has set a goal of becoming the first carbon neutral city in the world by 2025. Copenhagen is currently the leader in recycling with only 477KG of waste per capita. 55% of the waste in Copenhagen is recycled, and in 2009, only 2% of waste was sent to the landfill.
  4. London- While London has not had as much success in creating a demand for green products, they have made significant bounds in traffic and carbon reduction. In 2003, London introduced a bike-share system, providing 8000 bikes for public use. This reduced traffic by 18% and currently only uses 5.84 tonnes of carbon per person. They have also introduced the "Low Emission Zone," which applies penalty fees to those driving high-emission vehicles. London plans to reduce their carbon emissions by 60% by 2025.

    Amsterdam Leader in Cycling as Public Transportation
    Bikes in Amsterdam- Source
  5. Amsterdam- Anyone who has ever been to Amsterdam will have noticed the surplus of bikes. There is 1 bike for every .73 people in Amsterdam, totaling over 600,000 bikes in the city. 62% of Amsterdam residents take public transportation to work. They have over 750 electric cars on the road and 350 available charging stations. Amsterdam is currently the leader in water waste reduction. Only 32.22 gallons of water are used per person per day. They have a 3.5% leakage rate, compared with 23% average leakage rate in Europe. Amsterdam has introduced a differential water pricing, making water prices different throughout the day to encourage users to spread out their water usage. 

  6. Stockholm- Stockholm currently leads the world in public transportation usage, with 93% of its residents walking, cycling, or taking public transit to work. Currently, Stockholm generates 48% of its energy from hydroelectric sources. They also lead the world by having the lowest carbon emissions- only 3.62 tonnes per person. They have set a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 17% by 2015, with no more than 3 tonnes of carbon per capita.