NEW YORK – To most people, big, densely-populated cities look like ecological nightmares, wastelands of concrete and garbage and diesel fumes and traffic jams. But, compared to other inhabited places, cities are models of environmental responsibility. By the most significant measures, the greenest community in the United States is New York City, the only American city that approaches environmental standards set elsewhere in the world.
The average New Yorker generates 7.1 metric tons of greenhouse gases annually; that is more than the average Swede, who generates 5.6 metric tons, but it is less than 30% of the US average of 24.5 metric tons. Residents of Manhattan, the most densely populated of the city’s five boroughs, generate even less.