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Top Sustainable Cities around The World

Actually, not only we can, but we have to, for the sake of our future

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However, in light of looming global crisis, more and more cities are demonstrating that we can, in fact, coexist with nature in harmony without even having to make any tremendous sacrifices. Pixabay

Sustainability is usually defined as a fine balance between a city’s economy, quality of life, and how those two factors affect the environment. We’re already seeing the consequences of leaving the environment out of the equation – the quality of life actually plummets, as no amount of money and commodities could possibly make up for the kind of air pollution that equals smoking 21 cigarettes per day, which is Beijing’s status quo. Sustainable.

However, in light of looming global crisis, more and more cities are demonstrating that we can, in fact, coexist with nature in harmony without even having to make any tremendous sacrifices to our lifestyles. Actually, not only we can, but we have to, for the sake of our future. 

In that spirit, besides objective reviews of Just Energy, Texas Electricity Ratings brings you a look on some of the most sustainable cities whose blueprints will hopefully be followed by other towns in the future.  

Copenhagen, Denmark: Most Sustainable City in Europe

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Sustainability is usually defined as a fine balance between a city’s economy, quality of life, and how those two factors affect the environment. Pixabay

Copenhagen has firmly established itself as “Europe’s Green Capital,” and it continuously pushes the envelope on all sustainability fronts.

What instantly stands out is its ambitious agenda to become the first carbon-neutral city by 2025. The plan to this involves a heavy reliance on bicycles, which already surpassed cars in numbers, with less than a third of the households owning a car. In fact, many hotels even have bicycles in stock for guests. 

Furthermore, by the end of this year, all public transport buses will run with electric engines. Green roofs have been becoming the norm in infrastructure, while rigid quality assurance tests keep the tap water clean. 

Amsterdam, Netherlands: Cycling Wonderland 

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Bicycles are clearly a common theme in sustainability, and Amsterdam is a world-known symbol of cycling culture. Even beyond cycling, transport is becoming increasingly green as electric vehicles are starting to overtake regular ones. 

Sustainability efforts continue in the residents’ homes, with solar panels becoming more and more common on the roofs over their heads. 

Amsterdam also encourages organic farming, with many farmers’ markets popping up constantly across the city.  

Overall, while the first thing that may spring to many people’s mind when thinking about the Dutch capital is its lenient drug policies, this beautiful town is so much more than a party place. 

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We’re already seeing the consequences of leaving the environment out of the equation – the quality of life actually plummets. Pixabay

Stockholm, Sweden: Putting Waste to Good Use

A testament to Stockholm’s sustainability is its innovative approach to harnessing waste, whether it comes in the form of waste heat or sewage waste. The Swedish capital employs biofuel conversion plants to turn sewage waste into biofuel for vehicles, whereas the waste heat, coming from stadiums, data centers, and shops, should be channeled into the heating of its residents, if all goes according to plan. 

On top of that, the city plans to be fossil fuel-free by 2040. 

Vancouver, Canada: Lowest Greenhouse Gas Emissions in North America

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What’s admirable about Vancouver is that it didn’t always used to be a sustainable city, but realizing its environmental footprint and the urgent need to reduce it, it made a sharp turn and now serves as a prime example of well-needed change. 

It’s currently the major city with the lowest carbon emissions in North America, encouraging cycling to work and/or the use of electric vehicles, promoting local, healthy food through farmers’ markets, and implementing innovative waste management projects. 

Singapore: Greenest City in Asia 

Singapore is famous for being the greenest city in Asia, and soon, that title might become shorter – “Greenest City. Period.”

Singapore has become the object of many people’s wanderlust, particularly because of the spectacular way modern architecture is interlaced with nature, while technological innovations help maintain a fine balance between the two worlds. 

Singapore feels like a hopeful glimpse into the future. 

San Francisco, California: Ban of Plastic Water Bottles and Bags 

Besides being named the Greenest City in North America for 2011, San Francisco has another undisputable milestone in its sustainability resume – the ban of plastic bags and water bottles. 

Furthermore, being the technological and start-up hub that it is, San Francisco undertakes innovative approaches to waste management, having moved 80% of its waste disposal away from landfills and planning to make this number absolute by next year. 

Portland, Oregon: Growing Population, Lowering Carbon Emissions

Despite of its ever-growing population, Portland demonstrated that with the right plans and frame of mind, sustainability doesn’t have to be restricted by a city’s size. 

25% of the workforce in Portland commutes by bike, public transport, or carpool, and bicycles are the preferred mode of transportation for nearly 10% of the city’s residents. 

Also, besides one-third of Portland’s energy consumption coming from renewable sources, it has also banned plastic bags.

Those, as well as other cities around the world, lead by example and prove that sustainability isn’t some unattainable utopia, but a matter of joint efforts, thoughtful policies, and care about the future generations. 

 

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Study Says, World’s Oceans Were Warmest in 2019

Humans can work to reverse their effect on the climate, but the ocean will take longer to respond than atmospheric and land environments

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Oceans
The researchers used a relatively new method of analysis to account for potentially sparse data and time discrepancies in instruments that were previously used to measure warmth in oceans, especially from the ocean surface to 2,000 metres deep. Pixabay

The world’s oceans were the warmest in 2019 than any other time in the recorded human history — especially between the surface and a depth of 2,000 metres, an international team of 14 scientists from 11 institutes has revealed, with a warning that global ocean temperature is not only increasing but speeding up.

The past 10 years were the warmest on record for global ocean temperatures, with the past five years holding the highest record, said the authors in the study published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences — with a call to action for humans to reverse climate change.

2019 broke the previous records set in prior years for global warming, and the effects are already appearing in the form of more extreme weather, rising sea levels and harm to ocean animals.

According to the study, the 2019 ocean temperature is about 0.075 degrees Celsius above the 1981-2010 average. To reach this temperature, the ocean would have taken in 228,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (228 Sextillion) Joules of heat.

“That’s a lot of zeros indeed. To make it easier to understand, I did a calculation. The Hiroshima atom-bomb exploded with an energy of about 63,000,000,000,000 Joules. The amount of heat we have put in the world’s oceans in the past 25 years equals to 3.6 billion Hiroshima atom-bomb explosions,” elaborated Lijing Cheng, lead paper author at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

“This measured ocean warming is irrefutable and is further proof of global warming. There are no reasonable alternatives aside from the human emissions of heat trapping gases to explain this heating,” Cheng added.

The researchers used a relatively new method of analysis to account for potentially sparse data and time discrepancies in instruments that were previously used to measure ocean warmth, especially from the ocean surface to 2,000 metres deep.

The newly available data allowed the researchers to examine warmth trends dating back to the 1950s.

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The world’s oceans were the warmest in 2019 than any other time in the recorded human history — especially between the surface and a depth of 2,000 metres, an international team of 14 scientists from 11 institutes has revealed, with a warning that global ocean temperature is not only increasing but speeding up. Pixabay

They found that over the past six decades, the more recent warming was over 450 per cent that of the earlier warming, reflecting a major increase in the rate of global climate change.

“It is critical to understand how fast things are changing,” said John Abraham, co-author and professor of mechanical engineering at the University of St. Thomas in the US.

“The key to answering this question is in the oceans — that’s where the vast majority of heat ends up. If you want to understand global warming, you have to measure ocean warming.”

Humans can work to reverse their effect on the climate, but the ocean will take longer to respond than atmospheric and land environments.

Since 1970, more than 90 per cent of global warming heat went into the ocean, while less than 4 per cent of the heat warmed the atmosphere and land where humans live.

“Even with that small fraction affecting the atmosphere and land, the global heating has led to an increase in catastrophic fires in the Amazon, California and Australia in 2019, and we’re seeing that continue into 2020,” Cheng said.

The global ocean warming has caused marine heat waves in Tasman Sea and other regions.

One such marine heat wave in the North Pacific, dubbed “the blob,” was first detected in 2013 and continued through 2015.

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2019 broke the previous records set in prior years for global warming, and the effects are already appearing in the form of more extreme weather, rising sea levels and harm to animals in Oceans. Pixabay

Kevin Trenberth, co-author and distinguished senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in the US, said that a hot spot in the Gulf of Mexico in 2017 spawned Hurricane Harvey, which led to 82 deaths and caused about $108 billion in damages.

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“The price we pay is the reduction of ocean-dissolved oxygen, the harmed marine lives, strengthening storms and reduced fisheries and ocean-related economies,” Cheng said. (IANS)