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Study: ‘Energy Hog’ NYC Uses One Supertanker of Oil Every 36 Hours

posted: 05/06/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
NYC at dusk
pawel.gaul/iStock

A comprehensive study of resource usage in the world's 27 largest metropolitan areas has named New York City among the world's most wasteful cities.

The study, published in the current edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examined the flow of resources in and out of the world's 27 cities with a population over 10 million. Although these 27 cities house less than 7% of the world's population, they consume 9% of the world's electricity and disproportionately produce almost 13% of the world's waste.

In the study, New York City stands out from other large cities as particularly resource-hungry.

"The New York metropolis has 12 million fewer people than Tokyo, yet it uses more energy in total: the equivalent of one oil supertanker every 1.5 days," said University of Toronto industrial ecologist Chris Kennedy. "When I saw that, I thought it was just incredible."

Kennedy and his team attribute energy efficiency in megacities to progressive public policy and effective urban planning. He cites Moscow's centralized heating and electricity infrastructure, Seoul's wastewater reclamation and London's waste tax as smart policies that have caused a noticeable decrease in energy usage and waste.

"What we're talking about are not short-term, one-election issues, but long-term policies on infrastructure that shape cities over years or decades," he added.

Learn more on global energy usage:

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Energy in 2050
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