Sofia is the least "green" major city in the European Union, according to a study of the environmental sustainability of 30 major cities in 30 European countries prepared by Economist Intelligence Unit and Siemens.
The European Green City Index, presented by Siemens at the UN Climate Change Conference running in Copenhagen, ranked the Bulgarian capital 29th, better only than Kiev. Ukraine is not even an EU candidate.
Europe’s greenest capital is Copenhagen, followed by Stockholm, Oslo, Vienna, and Amsterdam. The cities’ green credentials are underlined by stable environmental policies.
The study is based in eight criteria including CO2 reduction targets, efficiency standards for buildings, support for environmental protection measures, consumption of water and energy per capita, recycling rate, and use of public transportation.
Sofia scored low in all categories except for building energy efficiency. The authors of the study point out that the municipal authorities’ insulation scheme combined with the low purchasing power of the population are prompting many Sofianites to improve home energy efficiency. By this indicator, Sofia leapfrogs champions like Rome and Dublin. Berlin boasts the best insulated buildings.
The report pins water resources management as the toughest challenge Sofia is facing. Other major problems identified in the study are waste management and overbuilding of Vitosha mountain.
Another drawback is the lack of measures to promote renewable energy use. Now less than 1% of the energy comes from sustainable sources, threatening to fall short of the 20% target by 2020.