Metro Atlanta: poster child for carbon emissions
This marks at least the third time I’ve posted a variation of this Metro Atlanta vs Barcelona graphic. It’s getting annoying to see it so often in the media, but it looks like this is the new normal for Atlanta. We used to be the “poster child for sprawl,” which was a more general condemnation of our metro’s sprawling, car-centric development pattern.
But now writers are getting more specific and cutting us to the core with the details: sprawling Metro Atlanta is now the poster child for carbon emissions per capita (among other things such as suburban poverty and low transit mobility for seniors), due entirely to our inefficient, low-density built environment.
The Washington Post has a new story on our carbon problem, focusing on the tons of emissions from transportation:
As you can see in the graphic from the World Resources Institute…the literal footprint of a city and the carbon footprint of its transportation — are intimately linked.
The more spread-out an urban area, the more likely its residents are to run even the most routine errands by car, producing vehicle emissions. The more compact it is, the less distance residents need to travel every day, and the easier — and cheaper — it is to build public transit.
This is big news currently because of studies from the Global Carbon Project which show that, worldwide, emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped more than ever in 2013. And just this week, about 300,000 people convened to protest climate change and carbon emissions in New York City, where a UN summit on climate change is taking place.
The world is eager to point out and shame the worst offenders of carbon pollution — a situation that puts car-crazy Metro Atlanta , apparently, in the spotlight.