- reducing energy use wherever possible-especially in the building and transportation sectors;
- adding as much renewable energy as possible, while being careful that the production of the renewable energy sources is not contributing significantly to greenhouse gases; and
- offsetting any CO2 emitted through purchasing carbon credits particularly through tree planting.
In Cairo their Plan includes a greenbelt which will be part of a carbon neutral goal. The greenbelt has been in their Plan for over 30 years but now has received a boost from this new initiative. The greenbelt plantation, outside the Greater Cairo Region ring road and its major junctions, is being developed along with greenbelts for all the surrounding new satellite cities. As of 2005, a greenbelt of about 500 000 trees using a highly efficient drip irrigation system was completed along the ring road. These stretches of green-space will use only treated waste water with predominantly drip irrigation systems in order to efficiently disperse waste water while providing the plants a needed fertilizer. Some of the afforestation projects also include the production of crops of high-economic yield (mainly Jatropha and Jojoba plants). To off-set the current carbon emission in Cairo, the government estimated 10.5 million medium-sized trees would be necessary. The successful completion of this goal will depend on the establishment of new treatment plants and irrigations systems to meet the rising waste water production. Besides reducing the carbon impact of Cairo, these forests provide a means to control urban expansion and generate many job opportunities and more importantly, they improve biodiversity and other natural environment outcomes. Thus this program provides a clear example of how the green and brown agenda can be linked.As part of Atlanta's ambitious beltline project to connect trails, transit, greenspace and development along 22-miles of an old rail corridor, over 1,200 acres of new greenspace will be added to the urban landscape. And in Los Angeles, Mayor Villaraigosa has committed to planting one million trees through the urban area, made possible by public-private partnerships. All these are good programs but none are committed yet to a comprehensive city-wide carbon neutral approach that can link their tree planting to a broader biodiversity cause. In doing so, they can raise urban and bioregional re-forestation to a new level and provide hope for their citizens that are looking for ways to contribute to reducing the impact of climate change and simultaneously solving local and regional green agenda issues. What do you think? Leave us a comment. ———- Peter Newman is Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University in Perth, Australia. He is the co-author of Cities as Sustainable Ecosystems, Green Urbanism Down Under, and Resilient Cities: Responding to Peak Oil and Climate Change.