Sooner or later, almost everyone is faced with the decision: where do I want to live? In the middle of the big city or would you rather be in the countryside? Do you then decide a home in the “bacon belt” or downtown? Gernot Wagner explained at the beginning of his new book that this decision cannot be made completely freely and that it has consequences not only for our lives, but also for society and the climate.
Full of personal stories
The author is a climate economist at New York University and has published several successful non-fiction books. According to the 2017 science book, “Klimaschock,” “Stadt Land Klima” also vividly describes how climate change, the economy, and everyday decisions are interconnected. The result is not a dry textbook, because Wagner also tells us very personally about his life, his thinking and his life.
After an initially neutral comparison of city, country, and suburb–called suburb in American tradition–with their advantages and limitations on residents, it quickly becomes clear how the three types of Wagner’s living wages are: “The suburban dream (is) a natural killer and a climate killer”, with twice the amount produced average carbon dioxide2– Missions as in the city or in the country. The main reasons for this are long flights and above-average living space for each person. There are also so-called stabilization effects: once you’ve moved to the suburbs, you can no longer easily do without your car.
Wagner’s verdict is clear: Living in the city saves the most CO22Saving potential. From a statistical point of view, the following applies: the higher the population density, the lower the carbon dioxide2emissions per person. This is explained not only by fewer cars and smaller living spaces, but also by more efficient use of energy, space and time. For example, cities are more willing to implement short-term changes.
In the author’s vision, the city serves as a place of residence for most people. As a result, the country is left primarily to nature, which, in addition to its function as a resource for energy and food, can serve as a place for relaxation.
The question of the most reasonable lifestyle from a climatic-economic point of view is very important and topical. At many points, the book relates to current discussions, such as whether it makes sense to ban new single-family homes and how to make life more climate-friendly after the pandemic.