Lowest Carbon Emitters in Bigger CitiesMarch 24, 2009 By jennifer City folk, on average, emit less carbon dioxide than their country cousins. Read more here.
This isn’t surprising. Nevertheless it’s interesting to me, because CO2 emission is a crude proxy for fossil fuel consumption, which should be our real concern in the long term. This is especially true in the Age of Peak Oil and in the imminent Age of Peak Natural Gas.
High localized population densities in urban areas make energy-efficient public transportation more attractive than commuting to work in your own car, and paying through the nose for a parking space–if you can find one. It’s a similar story with residences. Other things being equal, having a common wall with one’s neighbors translates into greater energy efficiency for heating and air conditioning. (Lower effective surface-to-volume ratio for a given area of living space, and for a given thickness of insulation.)
I’m in favor of government policies that encourage energy efficiency, without stooping to grim fairy tales about The CO2 Monster.
Helen Mahar says
Not surprising in the least. If I lived in a dense city centre I could walk to the nearest computer expert to have a problem fixed. I have just completed a 750 km round trip to do just this. Close proximity to conveniences does lower energy usage.
So why do people live in rural and remote areas? To supply the food, fibre, timber and minerals needed to support and house mainly urban populations. If the Co2 from these industries was debited against the customers instead of the producers, the Co2 footprint / gradient from urban to rural areas would be much flatter.
Rob W says
If you were to add the street lights, traffic lights and computers required to keep you alive and moving in the cities it bet the equation changes.
I own about 5 million trees, mostly under 20 years old, so am i sequestering more than an average family emits?