Among the many promises Mayor Daley and the 2016 bid committee have made to try to win the Olympics is a pledge to host the most eco-friendly games in history by incorporating green construction, renewable fuels, and recycled products into their planning—essentially the same formula that the mayor has used to burnish Chicago’s reputation as one of the greenest cities in the world.

But a compelling new book argues that those sorts of initiatives are far more successful at making people feel good than at cutting the greenhouse gas emissions threatening the future of the planet. True sustainability, David Owen argues in Green Metropolis, is rooted in less sexy things like population density, reduced consumption and driving, and public transit, which Mayor Daley’s policies have a mixed record of promoting.