Matt Kahn sends us to Ed Glaeser citing Matt Kahn on the greenness of Manhattan:
The Greenness of Cities - January 30, 2007 - The New York Sun: Henry David Thoreau was no fan of cities. At Walden Pond he became so "suddenly sensible of the sweet and beneficent society in Nature" that "the fancied advantages of human neighborhood" became "insignificant." Thoreau's like-minded heirs, including the urbanist, Lewis Mumford, praised the "parklike setting" of suburbs and denigrated the urban "deterioration of the environment."
Millions of Americans proclaimed their love of nature by moving to leafy suburbs while denigrating New Yorkers for living in the most man-made of places. .... Now we know that the suburban environmentalists had it backwards. Manhattan, not suburbia, is the real friend of the environment. Those alleged nature lovers who live on multiacre estates surrounded by trees and lawn consume vast amounts of space and energy. If the environmental footprint of the average suburban home is a size 15 hiking boot, the environmental footprint of a New York apartment is a stiletto-heeled Jimmy Choo.... New York's biggest environmental contribution lies in the fact that less than one-third of New Yorkers drive to work. Nationwide, more than seven out of eight commuters drive. More than one-third of all the public transportation commuters in America live in the five boroughs. The absence of cars leads Matthew Kahn, in his fascinating book, "Green Cities," to estimate that New York has by a wide margin the least gas usage per capita of all American metropolitan areas. The Department of Energy data confirm that New York State's energy consumption is next to last in the country because of New York City.
Is there any reason beyond civic pride to care that New Yorkers are true friends of the environment? I think so. Environmental benefits are one of the many good reasons that New York should grow. When Manhattan builds up, instead of Las Vegas building out, we are saving gas and protecting land. Every new skyscraper in Manhattan is a strike against global warming. Every new residential high rise means a few less barrels of oil bought from less than friendly nations belonging to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries...