Top ten 'greenest' cities in Europe

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Copenhagen is the "greenest" major city in Europe, according to a study released December 8 at the UN Climate Change Conference. The study, presented by Siemens, analyzed 30 cities in 30 European countries for their achievements and objectives in environmental and climate protection.

The European Green City Index evaluated cities based on eight categories: CO2 emissions, energy, buildings, transportation, water, air quality, waste and land use, and environmental governance. Copenhagen was found to best meet the sustainability criteria, followed by Stockholm, Oslo, Vienna, and Amsterdam.

Ten greenest cities in Europe:

1. Copenhagen
2. Stockholm
3. Oslo
4. Vienna
5. Amsterdam
6. Zurich
7. Helsinki
8. Berlin
9. Brussels
10. Paris

Scandinavian cities ranked high, according to the study press release, due partially to an above-average gross domestic product per capita that allows these countries to invest substantially in environmental protection (Copenhagen, for example, aims to be carbon-free by 2025). Eastern European cities, meanwhile, rank lower, having a generally lower GDP and little historical concern for environmental protection. Cities in Eastern Europe do, however, excel in the area of public transportation: Kiev, ranked 30th overall, is estimated to have the highest percentage of people using public transportation to commute.