| 06/30/11 @ 12:00pm | Posted in Clean energy
San Francisco grabbed the mantle of "greenest" major city in the U.S. and Canada Green City Index, with New York, Seattle, Denver and Boston rounding out the top five U.S. cities. The unique study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), and commissioned by Siemens, assesses and compares 27 major U.S. and Canadian cities on environmental performance and policies across nine categories – CO2 emissions, energy, land use, buildings, transport, water, waste, air quality and environmental governance.
The results which were released today included Cleveland, whose highest ranking category was 14th in Energy, was ranked 25th overall. The following is an introduction to the report section on Cleveland's efforts.
Located on the shores of Lake Erie, Cleveland is one of the smaller cities in the US and Canada Green City Index in terms of population, at 430,000 people, and area, at 77 square miles. Cleveland's economy is more oriented towards industry compared with other cities in the Index, with nearly 16% of jobs generated in the goods sector. However, more than half of the city's manufacturing jobs vanished between 1950 and 1990, along with nearly half of the population, which left Cleveland with daunting economic challenges; currently it is in the lower half of the Index for income, with a per capita GDP of $41,400. Looking ahead, Cleveland hopes to make sweeping changes in its economy and environmental performance through the many programs being initiated at the municipal level. Although getting there will not be easy, Cleveland benefits from the support of Mayor Frank Jackson, who has made a strong public case for the relevance of climate action and sustainability. Most of the data for Cleveland came from the city and wider metropolitan area which has a population of 2.1 million.
Cleveland ranks 25th overall among the 27 cities in the Index, and performs best in the category of energy, where it ranks 14th. Because Cleveland, as well as the state of Ohio, has committed to renewable energy targets, prospects for its continued strong performance in this area are favorable. Cleveland has also introduced some innovative programs and policies to improve transportation and more generally address environmental performance. However, the city faces sizeable challenges in the areas of CO2emissions, land use, buildings and waste. Political will for environmental action is one encouraging aspect of the city's current planning strategy, and only the future will tell if it will succeed in leading to tangible improvements.
"The Green Cities Index demonstrates that America's cities are the driving force behind the nation's sustainability efforts," said Eric Spiegel, president and CEO, Siemens Corp. "Despite the fact that we do not have a federal climate policy in the United States-and no federal carbon standard-21 of the 27 cities in the index have already set their own carbon reduction targets. Cities are creating comprehensive sustainability plans, utilizing current technology and proving everyday that we don't have to wait to create a more sustainable future."
The study of U.S. and Canadian cities provided some important key findings. Notably, cities that performed best in the rankings are the ones that have comprehensive sustainability plans that encompass every aspect of creating a greener future including transportation, land use, energy use, carbon dioxide emissions, and water. And while there is a correlation between wealth and environmental performance, it is weaker in the U.S. and Canada than in Europe and Asia.