This article appeared in the January 31, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Cut your carbon, boost your culture

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff/File
People walk down a pedestrian street lined with shops in the old town, on March 31, 2016 in Vienna, Austria.
Laurent Belsie
Senior Economics Writer

Today we look at the public response to impeachment hearings, Buttigieg and black voters in Iowa, the political stakes of the coronavirus, the importance of facts in the abortion debate, and whether a biological robot is alive.

But first, a detour to old Vienna, which is looking decidedly modern when it comes to giving its residents innovative incentives to fight climate change.

Starting next month, 1,000 users will test a new mobile app that tracks how you move through the city. If you walk, cycle, or use public transport, it will calculate how much carbon dioxide you saved by not taking a car. Once you’ve saved 20 kilos (44 pounds) of CO2, the app issues a token that can be turned in for tickets at a local history museum, a theater, a classical concert venue, or an exhibition space for art.

If the test is successful, the local government says it will roll out its cut-your-carbon-boost-your-culture app this fall.

Austria is taking several green steps. Parliament has passed a climate plan that increases speed limit enforcement on roads and aims to electrify taxis and boats. Under the new coalition of Greens and conservatives, the government plans to rely solely on renewable energy for its electricity by 2030 and to become climate neutral by 2040. To get there, it says it will start charging for carbon emissions.

Those are pretty bold steps, especially for a country that also serves as headquarters for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

This article appeared in the January 31, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 01/31 edition
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