Global Warming: How Does Your City Rate?

Posted on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 at 3:23 pm by dpacheco

Here’s a sweet little bit of vindication for a city boy surrounded by farmers and back-to-the-landers:

At first glance, cities may appear to be a big source of the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. But new research by CNT, which compares greenhouse gas emissions of city and suburban households, yields some surprising results.

CNT looked at emissions of carbon dioxide, a key greenhouse gas, stemming from household vehicle travel in 55 metropolitan areas across the U.S. When measured on a per household basis, it found that the transportation-related emissions of people living in cities and compact neighborhoods can be nearly 70% less than those living in suburbs. See how this compares in your region at our newly redesigned Housing + Transportation Affordability Index site.

[Emphasis mine.]

So, nyeh.

The real interesting bit, though, is the tools Center for Neighborhood Technology provides for checking out your area’s CO2 emissions relative to population (“CO2 per acre” vs. “CO2 per household”).

What is Location Efficiency?

While the concept of energy efficiency is a familiar term, locations can be efficient too. Compact neighborhoods with walkable streets, access to transit, and a wide variety of stores and services have high location efficiency. They require less time, money, and greenhouse gas emissions for residents to meet their everyday travel requirements.

The savings add up for households and communities. Transportation costs can range from 15% of household income in location efficient neighborhoods to over 28% in inefficient locations. Greenhouse gas emissions fluctuate too, depending on household reliance on costly, carbon-intensive automobile travel.

As they add more and more cities in the coming months, more people will be able to view the carbon impact of their own homesteads, as well as the impact of gas prices.

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