We tend to look at environmental legislation through a national lens, and the view these days is depressing. With Capitol Hill stuck in political gridlock, national action on climate and energy is proving to be a practical impossibility. Luckily, U.S. cities aren't waiting for Congress to climb out of the mire.
Today at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Siemens and the Economist Intelligence Unit announced the U.S. and Canada Green Cities Index, a ranking of 27 North American cities based on CO2 emissions, energy consumption, land use, buildings, transport, water, waste, air and environmental governance.
According to the report, the greenest city in North America is—big surprise—San Francisco, thanks in part to the fact that it recycles 72% of its waste, tops in the country. At number two is Vancouver, which is explicitly aiming to become the greenest city in the world by 2020. And in third is New York City, which has the inherent eco benefit of extreme density.
"The best cities really have comprehensive plans for climate change and population growth across all categories," says Eric Spiegel, CEO of Siemens USA. "U.S. cities aren't waiting for Washington." Phew.
Check out the full report here.
Photo: The Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park (Calista Chandler)