How big is your carbon footprint……. Well, you maybe surprised. LA has and more people than NY….No way…Yes…. Maybe Bakersfield has more carbon emissions from the oil refiner exhaust….. No…..read this read… Can you image the carbon footprint in Tokyo or Moscow…….The pollution there is beyond by lungs capacity…..
The winner among continental American cities, according to the Brookings Institution, as reported in the May 31st issue of The Economist, is … Los Angeles! Portland, Oregon, posterchild of so-called “smart growth,” takes second place.
Number one in America overall is Honolulu, Hawaii, and New York comes in fourth. What the top placers seem to have in common is nearness to air-cleansing ocean breezes and a year-round comfortable climate that minimize the use of air conditioning and heating. Not so surprising then that a place like Lexington, Kentucky, is dead last.
New York, like Los Angeles, is on a coast and its population density is high. The low-carbon cities tend to be denser than average. As discussed in earlier posts, US Census Bureau data show that metro Los Angeles’s population density is actually higher than New York’s. The Economist article points out that while “just 9% of Manhattanites drive to work alone, compared to 75% of Angelenos … they are let down by their hinterlands, which sprawl more than do the outskirts of Los Angeles.” LA has evolved exurbs and edge cities that people now commute among — instead of between suburbs and downtown — which cuts down on driving distance and thus carbon emissions.
Achieving lower carbon emissions thus has at least as much to do with where you build as with public policy, such as smart growth, which discourages new construction in coastal areas. The article concludes:
These days Los Angeles is trying to improve its environmental image by encouraging developers to build blocks of flats. The Brookings report suggests this approach is wrong, or at least inadequate. The metropolis should build more bungalows rather than force families who want them to live farther inland where temperatures are higher. There is plenty of room for more concrete on the coast. … To save the planet fire up the bulldozers.
You can read more here.