For centuries, cities have been at the heart of the arts and culture, thriving businesses and innovative ideas. More than 90 percent of urban areas are coastal, which means that most cities on the planet are extremely vulnerable to the effects of the climate crisis as sea levels rise, polar ice melts and powerful storms sweep across these regions.
The sheer number of people who live in cities now and who are expected to move into them in the coming years is startling. Around two-thirds of the world’s population is predicted to live in an urban area by 2050, which means there are also major financial implications when extreme weather like unexpected storms and flooding cause disruptions in businesses and governments.
The good news is that while cities are particularly at risk from the climate crisis, they are also behind some of the most powerful solutions. That’s why we’re taking a look at five of our favorite sustainable cities in the world and the steps they’ve taken to become leaders in clean energy and climate solutions.
Copenhagen is often ranked as one of the greenest cities on the planet. Why? For starters, in 2009 the city set a goal to become the world’s first carbon-neutral capital by 2025 as part of its CPH 2025 Climate Plan. Copenhagen has focused on reducing energy consumption in a variety of ways, including using an energy-efficient district heating system that connects to nearly every household and innovative cooling systems that save around 70 percent of the energy compared to traditional air conditioning.
Copenhagen has also focused on reducing emissions and improving the health of its residents by improving mobility, integrating transport and building what’s known as a super cycle highways. Supercycle highways and other bike lanes around the city have led to 45 percent of the city’s residents commuting by bike every day.