Green transition: The whole world can learn from a small town in Iceland

phys.org | 1/13/2019 | Staff
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Nowadays cities are quite unsustainable places. They consume a lot of the world's resources and account for more than half of the world's emissions of greenhouse gases, contributing substantially to the ongoing climate crisis.

But cities are also the places where a lot of our sustainability problems can be addressed effectively. A small town in northern Iceland has gone a long way to show us how.

Couple - Times - Information - Colleague - Rakel

I have been to Akureyri a couple of times myself, but to gather some more information my colleague Rakel Kristjansdottir went up there and brought home some truly inspiring field notes for us to study.

Iceland is well-known for its stunning nature, fermented food of questionable taste and eccentric contributions to the European Song Contest. And Iceland is also a very interesting case for us researchers who study energy systems.

Island - Conditions - Hydropower - Energy - Abundance

The island is blessed with excellent conditions for hydropower and geothermal energy. This abundance of energy helped improve the living condition of the people but in recent years it has also led to big problems.

And while emissions from heating and electricity are pretty low for Icelandic households, per head emissions from transport and other kinds of consumption are still very high.

Champions - Icelandic - Town - Akureyri - Guðmundur

Two champions from the Icelandic town of Akureyri, Guðmundur Sigurðarson and Sigurður Friðleifsson, were not willing to accept this unsustainable status quo.

About a decade ago, they initiated an ambitious low-carbon transition that now affects all local citizens and turned Akureyri into a front-runner of climate policies nation-wide.

Fieldwork - Place - End - World

We wanted to know how they managed all this, so we went to do fieldwork at a place that some would call the end of the world.

The key factor to the transition was that Guðmundur and Sigurður took all carbon flows of the town into consideration.

Materials - City - Cooking

This means that they looked at all the materials that flow through a city, such as cooking...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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