The city of Reykjavik is stepping up in the fight to combat global warming by pledging to make the city carbon neutral by 2040. The city hopes to achieve this through a plan laid out by Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson earlier this month. The plan will also fight urban sprawl by confining 90 percent of new residential housing to the current city limit.
Mayor Eggertsson’s action plan is rooted in the ability for cities to be more flexible when it comes to monitoring carbon emissions. “Cities play a key role in the fight against climate change,” said Eggertsson. “They can react quickly and are more often than not far more progressive than the world’s governments.” With Reykjavik’s carbon emissions already relatively low, Eggertsson’s new plan will focus on achieving green targets, such as ensuring all vehicles in Reykjavik are powered by green energy by 2040, including both public and private transportation.
Reykjavik hopes to reach its green goals by encouraging more people to use public transportation. Through limiting urban sprawl and restructuring the public transportation system, the city plans to increase the number of people using it to 12 percent (up from four percent) by 2030. The combination of limiting urban sprawl and streamlining the mass transit system is in line with academic studies that show the advantages of high-density cities in reducing carbon emissions.
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