As business and public entities face more pressure to lower their carbon footprints, an entire industry has sprouted to quantify and verify their progress. The whole enterprise can be a tricky business, as San Francisco officials are finding out.

Props to The Bay Citizen for looking beyond the claims and doing its own analysis. As John Upton writes in the Citizen:

“…some energy experts and environmentalists have raised questions about the city’s calculations. Although San Francisco has taken significant steps to shrink its carbon footprint, these critics said, the numbers are misleading, and the end result is not nearly as green as the city claims.”

Specifically, TBC looked into the claim that the City and County of San Francisco has cut its carbon emissions by 12% since 1990, driven mostly by the shutdown of two gas-fired power plants in the city. The article features a graph that shows its own tracking of greenhouse gas emissions clocking in well below the City’s estimates.

Craig Miller is the Senior Editor of Climate Watch

Analysis Highlights Tricky Business of Carbon Accounting, Says SF Overestimates Progress 21 November,2011Craig Miller


Craig Miller

Craig is KQED's science editor, specializing in weather, climate, water & energy issues, with a little seismology thrown in just to shake things up. Prior to his current position, he launched and led the station's award-winning multimedia project, Climate Watch. Craig is also an accomplished writer/producer of television documentaries, with a focus on natural resource issues.

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