The 20 Greenest European Capital Cities

climate change carbon

The Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) has recently come up with a Green City Index for every continent. They also took time to assess the capital cities of Europe, they came up with the following list.

Each city was assessed based on 30 indicators divided into eight subcategories: Carbon dioxide emissions, energy, buildings, transportation, water, air, waste/land use and environmental governance.

We’ve also thrown in a couple of fun facts about the cities’ environmental policies and initiatives for you.

NB: The Green City Index included Zurich, rather than Bern, as the city to represent Switzerland. Since we don’t want to be making stuff up, we’re going to include it instead of Bern too.

#20 Bratislava, Slovakia

Population: 449,000

In 2009 the United Nations Development Program office in the Slovakian capital went green when 170 solar panels were installed on the roof of the building.

SOURCES: GCI, City Mayors

#19 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Population: 264,000

The Slovenian capital takes part in the EU's CIVITAS initiative for cleaner transport in cities. In addition to a congestion charge, the city is also integrating e-ticketing into its public transportation.

SOURCES: GCI, City Mayors

#18 Lisbon, Portugal

Population: 563,000

Portugal restructured its energy sector in 2005 aiming to promote better energy efficiency and renewable fuel sources while also encouraging more innovation in energy development.

SOURCES: GCI, City Mayors

#17 Budapest. Hungary

Population: 1,825,000

Budapest hosted the world's first Eco Costume Fashion Show in 2009. Featuring the work of 16 Hungarian designers, all the clothes were made of recycled or waste materials.

SOURCES: GCI, City Mayors

#16 Warsaw, Poland

Population: 1,615,000

Travel sites promoting the city say that almost 25 per cent of Warsaw is covered by trees. For comparison, about 11 per cent of Chicago is covered by trees.

SOURCES: GCI, City Mayors

#15 Riga, Latvia

Population: 793,000

Riga has five protected nature areas that span 742.7 hectares between them.

SOURCES: GCI, City Mayors

#14 Rome, Italy

Population: 2,649,000

The ancient Roman Emperor Justinian once ruled that water and air were public property for all to benefit from and should not be spoiled by anyone. That probably has nothing to do with current Roman environmental policy, but it's a nice thought.

SOURCES: GCI, City Mayors

#13 Vilnius, Lithuania

Population: 578,000

Thirteen Lithuanian based companies were awarded National Responsible Awards by the United Nations Development Program in Lithuania this year in honour of their reduction of negative impact on the environment.

SOURCES: GCI, City Mayors

#12 Madrid, Spain

Population: 2,824,000

The International Conference on Secure and Sustainable Living organised by the World Meteorological organisation was held in Madrid in 2007.

SOURCES: GCI, City Mayors

#11 London, UK

Population: 7,074,000

Since 2003, Londoners have had to pay to bring private automobiles into central parts of the city as a result of the congestion charge. Alternative fuel or hybrid vehicles are eligible for a discount.

SOURCES: GCI, City Mayors

#10 Paris, France

Population: 2,152,000

Paris' climate protection plan aims to increase the cities use of sustainable resources by 2020.

SOURCES: GCI, City Mayors

#9 Brussels, Belgium

Population: 1,019,000

Brussels is home to the Institute for European Environmental Policy.

SOURCES: GCI, City Mayors

#8 Berlin

Population: 3,387,000

The Michelin Challenge Bibendum, which Berlin played host to this year, raced electric cars to see which models could withstand the rigors of everyday use and eventually replace the gasoline fuelled automobile.

SOURCES: GCI, City Mayors

#7 Helsinki, Finland

Population: 549,000

According to annual reports compiled by Helsinki's environmental centre, the city's greenhouse gas emissions have been steadily falling since 2006.

SOURCES: GCI, City Mayors

#6 Zurich, Switzerland

Population: 372,000

The Swiss Environmental Initiative targets kids with cartoons and drawings to educate the young about climate change.

SOURCES: GCI, City Mayors

#5 Amsterdam, Netherlands

Population: 729,000

Amsterdam opened 19 free recharging stations in November 2010 for anyone with an electric car, scooter or motorbike to use to recharge their battery.

SOURCES: GCI, City Mayors

#4 Vienna, Austria

Population: 1,540,000

Some 68 per cent of Vienna's residents walk, cycle or take public transport to work every day.

SOURCES: GCI, City Mayors

#3 Oslo, Norway

Population: 505,000

Oslo's City Bike project allows residents and visitors to rent bikes at over 100 stations scattered throughout the city.

SOURCES: GCI, City Mayors

#2 Stockholm, Sweden

Population: 744,000

Not even content with public transport, almost 70 per cent of Stockholm's residence cycle to work.

SOURCES: GCI, City Mayors

And in at #1...Copenhagen, Denmark

Population: 499,000

Having hosted the UN's environmental summit in 2009, the Danish capital is aiming to become total free of carbon dioxide-free by 2025.

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SOURCE: ECI, City Mayors

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