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German cities among Europe's greenest

The Local · 22 Jun 2011, 14:43

Published: 22 Jun 2011 14:43 GMT+02:00

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The survey, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit for industrial giant Siemens, put ten of the 12 German cities analysed, in the ‘above average’ category, better than most of the 29 other major European cities surveyed.

Around three-quarters of all German residents live in cities, a figure which is expected to increase in the coming decades, placing strain on urban infrastructure and potentially increase their impact on the environment.

The eight factors analysed were carbon dioxide emissions, energy use, buildings, transport, water, waste and land use, air quality and environmental governance.

“Compared to the rest of Europe, German cities rank close together and are very similar in performance. This is partly due to legislation: the directing and implementing of sustainable urban development policies has a long history in Germany. In addition, Germans have a high degree of environmental awareness,” the report said.

“The study also shows that environmental protection is not a luxury,” said Emily Jackson, project manager at the Economist Intelligence Unit. “Despite sometimes considerable differences among the cities in terms of income, population, geographical location and amount of industry – none of these factors have a measurable effect on a city’s ranking in the Index.”

German buildings used on average 20 percent less energy than their European counterparts, and are rather better in energy efficiency, although other cities are better in terms of how much of the energy they use is from renewable sources.

Although German cities have enviable networks of public transport and cycle paths, nearly half of their inhabitants still drive to work in their cars. Water use at an average of 59 cubic metres per capita each year, is around half of that in other European cities, due to high prices and monitored use. German cities generate more waste than other European cities, but recycle more of it – around three times what other cities do.

Germany cities performed well in air quality comparisons, even those with high traffic or industry levels.

The greatest challenge is carbon dioxide emissions, with German cities performing worse than other European centres – due to the relatively high proportion of coal used in electricity generation, the report said.

Those German cities rated above average were Berlin, Bremen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Leipzig, Mannheim, Munich, Nuremberg and Stuttgart. They were joined in that category by Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo, Stockholm, Vienna and Zurich.

The worst German performers were Cologne and Essen, which languished in the average rating along with London, Madrid, Paris, Riga, Rome, Vilnius and Warsaw.

Story continues below…

Those European cities ranked below average were Athens, Bratislava, Budapest, Dublin, Istanbul, Lisbon, Ljubljana, Prague and Tallinn, while the cities ranked well below average were Belgrade, Bucharest, Kiev, Sofia and Zagreb.

The greenest European city was Copenhagen, the worst was Kiev. In the ranking of 30 European cities, in which Berlin was the only German representative, it came eighth.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:54 June 22, 2011 by german-guardian
God bless Germany
19:36 June 22, 2011 by Englishted
Warning ! Warning !

looney alert see above guardian- aryan
22:22 June 22, 2011 by Expat IV
In my village, older houses have underground cisterns into which rainwater is channeled by gutters on roofs. If one installs an electric pump in order to use the rainwater, he pays a tax on it. I understand that a manually operated pump is not taxed. In a neighboring village, everyone is taxed for the amount of rainwater which drains from the roof of the house into the public drainage system instead of going into a cistern on one's property. Taxed if you recycle rainwater and taxed if you don't does not seem a wise way to encourage people to "go green".
22:24 June 22, 2011 by marimay
Oh, I thought it was a list for Europe's most boring cities.
00:59 June 23, 2011 by german-guardian
@ marimay, Just leave Germany if you don't like it. You are not German and you keep bashing Germany in every single comment ever. Just leave if you don't like it.
07:56 June 23, 2011 by marimay
There, there, don't worry. It is in the works. :) (thank god)
09:37 June 23, 2011 by lordkorner
Regardless of whether you like it here or hate it here,this news should be welcomed by all.My Father once gave me some advice and it was simply,if you can't say something good about somebody ,say nothing at all,maybe we should apply this to Countries and Cities,it would definitely clear up some of the crap on this site....

Living and working from home in the beautiful city of Potsdam, as I look down the garden to the shimmering waters of the Griebnitzsee, yes I have to agree,green,very green indeed.
13:28 June 23, 2011 by Englishted

You are wasting you time he/she is bonkers.

@Lordkorner .

Your Father copied that advice from Thumper's (the rabbit with big feet) mother in the film Bambi. made in 1942.

However I may be wrong and Walt Disney copied it from your father.
15:22 June 23, 2011 by catjones
It's like saying German cities are among Europe's tallest.
17:05 June 23, 2011 by german-guardian
@ lordkorner

Great comment. thank you
21:58 June 24, 2011 by lordkorner
@ englishted Funny you should mention that,my Father owned a stallion,an enormous brute which he called Thumper,however I don't think it was because of his big feet.
02:21 June 29, 2011 by rob robertson
Good News for the German people.
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