Cities and countries concerned with climate change are increasingly setting goals for a transition to a carbon-neutral economy. To date, the Alliance of carbon neutral cities includes 20 metropolises, which have promised to reduce emissions to zero by 2050. Among them are cities like Berlin, London, New York, Oslo or Sydney. Tourism-Review.com introduces seven carbon neutral cities that are close to the goal.
The Danish capital has developed its carbon neutral plan. The deadline is set for 2025 and authorities are emphasizing that this goal is indeed realistic. For eight years, Copenhagen is going to install solar panels on the roofs of municipal buildings and hundreds of wind turbines around the city. Authorities will also reconstruct old houses, reorganize energy supply and convince residents to abandon private cars. At the same time, the city promises that the economic growth will accelerate, and the quality of life will improve. Thanks to the climatic plan, the employment is set to increase by 35 thousand people per year by 2025, and the city residents will pay much less for electricity and heat.
By 2040, Sweden is going to completely switch to renewable energy, although experts believe this may happen even earlier. The Swedes are consistently reducing the use of fossil fuels and putting wind turbines on land and at sea. There are almost 4,000 of them in their country. In Stockholm, 83% of the energy produced from heating comes from the wind and sun. Railway transport works only on renewable sources. There are about 750 kilometers of bike paths in the city and residents are increasingly using the subway and buses. For buildings under construction, good insulation is thought out; water-saving technologies are installed in toilets and showers. There are also special containers for underground vacuum transportation. From there, the waste goes to recycling stations.
The Finnish capital promises to be a carbon neutral city by 2035. The authorities have developed a detailed action plan of 143 points, including the installation of solar panels on buildings and the popularization of public transport, bicycles and walks. Now the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Helsinki is heating. The plan implies a reduction in heat consumption by 1/5 through the modernization of old houses and the introduction of more stringent standards for the construction of new buildings. And Helsinki is capable of achieving the set climatic goals. The city has already reduced carbon emissions by 25% from 1990.
The British city wants to become not only the first carbon neutral city, but also the first carbon positive city in the world by 2020. In addition to the obvious steps towards its goal, such as switching to renewable energy sources, reducing the number of cars etc., the city decided to introduce the blockchain. Authorities have teamed up with the Maltese company Poseidon Foundation which specializes in the use of digital technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The blockchain is supposed to simplify emissions trading, since the system is based on equal interaction of participants and data transparency. Liverpool plans to use blockchain to sell carbon units in the global financial market.
The official US climate policy is disappointing for eco-activists. A year ago, President Donald Trump signed a document on the country’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. Despite this, the authorities of individual cities and states continue to develop their programs. San Francisco is a great example, as the city has been working on reducing greenhouse gas emissions since 2000. Due to the fact that city dwellers are switching to solar and wind energy, transferring to bicycles and growing trees, the level of greenhouse gases fell by 30% in 2016 compared to 1990. The mayor of San Francisco promised to make the city carbon neutral by 2050, but this did not seem enough. California Governor Jerry Brown announced this week that by 2045, the entire state will switch to renewable energy sources.
As a matter of fact, the eco-city Masdar in the United Arab Emirates does not yet exist. But it will grow soon 17 kilometers from Abu Dhabi and will be completely carbon neutral. It is planned that the city in the middle of the desert will become environmentally sustainable with minimal CO2 emissions. Residents of Masdar will be able to receive energy from solar panels, ride electric cars and completely recycle waste. So far, about 100 people live on the site of the city, but the authors of the Masdar Initiative project promise that start-ups will soon fill it, and the population will reach 100 thousand.
Adelaide in Australia is a city that really wants to become the first ecologically neutral city in the world. It is not difficult to be an environmentally conscious citizen with such state aid. The city has support schemes for residents who are building energy-efficient housing, using electric cars and solar panels. In Adelaide, the system of public transport and motorways is well thought out. The so-called “rule of twenty minutes” works here, from which you can get to the center or airport from anywhere in the city.