Eight Carbon-Friendly Holiday Destinations for 2020

Eight Carbon-Friendly Holiday Destinations for 2020

countries and cities across the globe are putting their foot
down (on the electric-powered pedal, certainly not the gas) in a
bid to become leaders in carbon-neutrality, we’ve picked a few of
our favourite green destinations to visit in 2020. Picture the
scene. A city of sheeny-shiny skyscrapers nestled among a low-lying
cloud of frothy forestry and underscored by the gentle hum of
electric vehicles punctuated with the odd tinkle of a bicycle

For many cities and countries around the globe, this is the end
goal of the carbon race. A 21st-century, eco-friendly antidote to
the Space
, it’s healthy competition at its finest. These are the
places paving tree-lined cycling paths for others to follow.

These destinations are pioneers of carbon-neutrality and a
must-visit for eco-conscious travellers



Can a country really be carbon neutral? Step forward Bhutan.
Yes, despite its position between
– two of the most polluting countries in the world –
Bhutan is in a carbon deficit. While we usually bemoan expensive
visas, we’re all for Bhutan’s. Not only has it enabled the country
to sidestep the culturally erosive blight of overtourism, but
roughly a quarter of the fee goes towards strengthening public
services in line with eco-credentials. While the country doesn’t
lack vehicle-oriented infrastructure – the first tarmac road was
built in the 60s – its lush, tropical forests help to guzzle more
than six million tonnes of carbon per year.

STAY: Gangtey Lodge,



The Icelandic capital’s climate policy is steps ahead of most
places on two counts. Firstly, the city has a delightfully low
population density. Secondly,
runs almost entirely on geothermal energy reserves,
which is perhaps unsurprising to those who’ve ogled Iceland’s
famous geysers. In 2013, its greenhouse gas emissions stood at 2.3
tonnes per person – a tiny fraction of the 16.5 tonnes attributed
to each US dweller.

STAY: Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel

San Francisco

United States

It’s a city where New Age hippy types rub shoulders with
forward-thinking, Silicon Valley tech magnates: it’s little wonder
they’re carbon-cutting pioneers. It was one of the first cities in
America to prohibit the use of plastic carrier bags – a move which
is believed to have reduced annual landfill waste by 1.6 million
tonnes – and was recognised by Obama as one of the best cities in
America to travel car-free. Although you’d be a fool to hire a car
in a city so blessed with sweeping cycling routes (48,000 San
Francisco locals commute on bicycle), if you do need to hitch a
ride more than 60% of the taxis here are electric.

STAY: Hotel



Carbon neutrality by 2035 is the goal for
. It’s one of the most ambitious deadlines in the world
– most cities are angling for 2050 or 2040, at a push. Helsinki’s
Climate Watch tool is a little tiresome to read in one sitting, but
it outlines the 147 measures the city’s currently enacting to
reduce its emissions. It includes things such as the design of
pleasant walking routes through the city, the installation of LED
street lighting and precisely what proportion of meals served by
the public sector (to primary school children and in nursing homes,
for instance) are veggie. This Finnish city gets a gold star for

STAY: Hotel St George

Costa Rica

It might only take up 0.03 per cent of the Earth’s surface, but
Costa Rica’s thrumming rainforests represent nearly six per cent of
the world’s biodiversity – and its government is keen to keep it
that way. Thanks to Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Costa Rica’s
progressive Minister of Environment and Energy, this Central
American haven for holidaymakers is on track to full carbon
neutrality by 2050. Under Rodriguez’s plans, 70 per cent of Costa
Rican buses and 25 per cent of cars will be powered by electricity
by 2035, while work on a new nationwide electric train network is
scheduled to start in 2022. It’s a mightily ambitious plan for such
a small country, but a trailblazing one at that.

STAY: Lapa Rios Lodge



Of course this progressive hub – home to Greenpeace and cradled
by unspoiled mountains – is years ahead in the carbon race. In its
Greenest City Action Plan in 2011, the city rather audaciously
pledged to become “the greenest city in the world” by 2020. As well
as subsiding electric vehicles, targeting big industrial carbon
gluttons and adapting buildings to be more energy efficient, the
plan includes admirable focus points on eating locally. Thanks to
this, jobs have been boosted in surrounding farmland and inner-city
allotments have been carved out in a bid to reduce food miles: good
news for conscious travellers with big appetites.

STAY: The Listel Hotel

Portland, Oregon

United States

The much-loved TV show Portlandia might present a comical
pastiche of hipster wokeness, but the city’s eco efforts are no
joke. It has 97 light rail stations, 80 bus lines and a lacework of
cycling routes to help tourists access the most hard-to-reach nooks
of the city. Half of the neighbourhood’s electricity comes from
renewable sources and 32 per cent of the office spaces (glassy
skyscrapers often being the worst culprits) have the
world-recognised ENERGY STAR seal of approval. Despite an
ever-increasing population, the city’s committed to growing its
urban forest too.

STAY: Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel



This year’s a big’un for Oslo. In 2016 it pledged to slash
emissions by 50 per cent come 2020. While those figures are yet to
roll in, the city has stealthily implemented a handful of measures
to reach full carbon neutrality by 2050. You might not spot many
gimmicks out on the streets (plant walls and vegan cafés aren’t at
the vanguard of carbon reduction efforts, pleasant though they may
be). Yet over the past four years, car-free zones have been
introduced, infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians has
levelled up and buses have started chugging along on biogas. It’s
even earned the title “Electric Vehicle Capital of the World”, with
30 per cent of vehicles sold now being electric.

STAY: Amerikalinjen

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