Is Canberra really the most sustainable city in the world?

A photograph of several large oak trees, with golden sunlight streaming through from behind them
22 May 2021

The idea of Canberra being beautiful one day and the most sustainable city in the world the next is not necessarily the view held by some of Canberra’s thought leaders, despite a United Kingdom energy comparison website ranking the capital as the world’s most sustainable place to live.

UK energy comparison website Uswitch says Canberra is the world’s most sustainable city based on six criteria of energy, transport infrastructure, affordability, pollution, air quality, CO2 emissions and the percentage of green space.

Canberra scored 427 out of a possible 600 points. Brisbane was ranked third with a rating of 382 behind the Spanish capital, Madrid.

“The country’s capital relies heavily on solar power and nearby wind farms, while also ensuring an incredible 94 per cent of its residents have internet access to make this one connected city,” the website said.

However, Region Media spoke with some experts on the ground to see if Canberra is really ahead of the pack in terms of sustainability.

“Absolutely not,” said environmental economist Professor Frank Jotzo, a director of the ANU’s Centre for Climate Economics and Policy, “because we all live in very large houses and drive cars around this city on a daily basis.”

Read the full article on the RiotACT website, featuring Prof Mark Howden and Prof Frank Jotzo