Take a quick stroll through a bustling city like London or New York, and you can’t help but feel that such places are the antithesis of environmental sustainability. Yet counterintuitively, large metropolises like these might just be some of the most environmentally friendly places on earth.
Each year, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) releases data which show carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at a local authority level in the UK. And each year, they overwhelmingly show that urban areas typically boast lower CO2-per-capita figures than more rural ones. Indeed, the chart below illustrates exactly this using the latest BEIS figures, which were published last week. Combining them with the most recent census data, one can isolate all local authority areas which have entirely ‘urban’ and entirely ‘rural’ populations, as according to government definitions.