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Which Are The World's Cleanest Cities? Robert Malone, 04.16.07, 12:10 PM ET In Pictures: The World's Cleanest Cities There is clean and then there is clean. In the world, as a rule of thumb, the North is clean and the South is dirty. Indeed only two of the top-25 cleanest cities in the world are below the Equator--Auckland, New Zealand, and Wellington, New Zealand. The cleanest cities are largely located in countries noted for their democracy and their industrialization. The only Asian cities represented are in Japan. There are no top-25 clean cities in South or Central America, Africa and Australia. The U.S. has five of the top 25; Canada, a strong five, with the top spot its city of Calgary; Europe has 11 of the top 25; and Japan has three. The 25 cleanest cities are located in 13 countries. It may not be accidental that these countries are among the highest in purchasing power parity according to the World Development Indicator database of the World Bank. Twelve are in the top 20, and only New Zealand lags in wealth, at No. 37 on the list of world's wealthiest. So clean may also mean well-off. In Pictures: The World's Cleanest Cities To be clean a city has to face and solve many problems that otherwise lead to unsanitary conditions and poor health as well as possible economic stagnation. Producing energy for industry, homes and transportation has to be planned and executed reasonably, and this means some form of regulation and control. To be clean means organizing what is done with waste. Landfills are being closed or filled up. Recycling is the only long-range answer, but this takes civic discipline, a system and preferably a system that turns a profit. Green only works well when it results in greenbacks. In addition a city has to look closely at its transportation infrastructure (roads, rail, air, subways) and their impact upon being clean or going dirty or staying dirty. The logistics infrastructure is also critical in terms of efficiency that can translate into money and fuel savings that in turn affect cleanliness (air quality, water quality and ground quality). Taken all together as with clean energy generation, waste control, recycling and various levels of infrastructure reorganization, the challenge is formidable. Some will recommend taking on one challenge at a time, and this may be what President Bush has in mind with ethanol. Bush's advocacy of ethanol is a step towards cleaner fuel and in turn cleaner cities. The idea is also controversial as the resources available for ethanol are directly related to the food supply chain. There can be great friction over sharing such resources. Some are advocating inputs beyond corn grain. "One of the most abundant potential resources we have is the nonfood parts of the corn plant, including the stalks, leaves and husks,” says Dr. Michael Pacheco, director of the National Bioenergy Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The figures for the cleanest cities are derived from studies by the Mercer Human Resources Consulting that cull from 300 cities, identifying overall quality of living as well as special reports on regions. It is interesting to note that size does not appear to be a factor either in terms of size of population or physical size of the city. The most common trait in common to each is a focus on high tech, education and headquartering of national and international companies along with an extensive public transit system.
After having a terrible time trying to find a good apartment Downtown that is not taken by someone in person immediately after I inquire about it, I am considering renting in Verdun, near De L'Eglise metro. Judging by street view, Wellington street is a smaller (and probably cleaner) version of Mont-Royal avenue. I basically have three questions: Are there any 24-hour coffee shops around? Is it as safe as, say, Downtown? How is commuting from there? Feel free to answer any other question that I didn't ask. Thanks a lot!
Quebec adopts California car emissions standards Rules will gradually lower greenhouse gas emission ceiling for cars Last Updated: Tuesday, December 29, 2009 | 10:17 PM ET Quebec is adopting California's stringent auto-emissions standards next month, in a move to tackle the province's polluting transport sector. When the new emissions standards take effect Jan. 14, Quebec will become the first Canadian province to follow California's lead in reducing greenhouse gases with cleaner light vehicles. The standards will impose increasingly strict limits on maximum greenhouse gas emissions for light vehicles manufactured between 2010 and 2016, and sold in Quebec. By 2016, provincial standards will require light vehicles to produce no more than 127 grams of greenhouse gas per kilometre. New emissions standards for light vehicles in Quebec are modelled after California's stricter regulations.New emissions standards for light vehicles in Quebec are modelled after California's stricter regulations. (Canadian Press)The new rules come after two years of consultation on California's controversial standards, said Line Beauchamp, the province's environment minister. California's emissions program is "really interesting because it is accompanied by a system of penalties, but especially, a system of rewards" for cleaner cars, Beauchamp said in French at a news conference in Montreal on Tuesday. The emission caps apply to a manufacturer's total vehicle fleet, which means companies that manage to come under the limit can either bank their credits, or sell them to others, Beauchamp explained. When the West Coast state first introduced its standards in 2004, it was beset by judicial challenges from the auto industry, a reaction Quebec noted with interest, the environment minister said. But with the advent of Barack Obama as president, and a slow spread of California's standards to other states, Quebec is ready to take the plunge for stricter standards "with much pride," Beauchamp said. The minister noted that several states neighbouring Quebec are among those that have followed California's lead, including Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Connecticut. The Obama administration has also signalled its intent to adopt equivalent standards for all of the United States by 2012. In Quebec, the transport sector generates about 40 per cent of the province's greenhouse gases, half of which is caused by light vehicles.