Energy is a critical economic and environmental issue globally. Unsustainable energy supply and demand have serious implications for everything from business costs to health living.Cities are the greatest energy consumers and the greatest polluters on Earth.
Cities currently cover only about three percent of the planet yet they devour the lion’s share of its natural resources and emit about eighty percent of global carbon dioxide and significant amounts of other greenhouse gases.
But by the yardstick of the individual, the picture is very different. The per capita energy use of dense cities like New York is significantly lower than elsewhere in the country; it might come as a surprise that the highest per capita consumption is in the wide-open plains of Wyoming. Typical New Yorkers consume far less electricity and gasoline and use far less water than their suburban counterparts. They occupy less land, produce less waste, produce lower noxious emissions, and in general inflict less damage on the environment. Clearly at this point of our imperiled ecology, we need to learn the lessons that such cities can teach.