Over the past few years or so, governments responsible for bigger cities have been trying to find ways to decrease the negative impact on our environment. Transportation, efficient real estate, air quality and waste management each play a role in the struggle for a more sustainable future. It is said that climate change further complicates the urbanization challenge. By 2030, climate change and natural disasters may cost cities worldwide $314 billion each year and push 77 million more urban residents into poverty.

The good news is that while cities are particularly at risk from the climate crisis, they are also behind some of the most powerful solutions. So here are 4 cities that are taking steps to becoming leaders in clean energy and climate solutions.

  1. Copenhagen, Denmark: Copenhagen is one of the greenest cities on the planet. Why? For starters, in 2009 the city set a goal to become the world’s first carbon-neutral capital by 2025. Copenhagen has focused on reducing energy consumption in a variety of ways, including using an energy-efficient district heating system that connects to nearly every household and innovative cooling systems that save around 70 percent of the energy compared to traditional air conditioning.
  2. San Franciso, California: The Bay Area has also cut its water consumption drastically in recent years. As California has battled serious droughts, San Franciscans have reduced their water consumption to around 49 gallons of water per day on average (the national average is 80-100 gallons per day).
  3. Stockholm, Sweden: Sweden’s shift from oil to district heating in the early 1990’s is perhaps the single most important factor in explaining the country’s reduced greenhouse gas emissions, both in the housing and service sector. This shift has made an incredible difference in reducing negative effects to the environment.
  4. Frankfurt, Germany: Has been ranked most sustainable city in the world according to the sustainable cities index. Frankfurt demonstrates a commitment to energy performance a through a long-term development of energy production efficiency.