San Francisco's Emissions 5% Below 1990 Levels

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom solidified San Francisco's status as a leader on environmental issues after announcing the completion of a comprehensive study showing that by 2005, San Francisco achieved a 5-percent reduction in communitywide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

In the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, 1990 is the baseline year for greenhouse gas emissions. The protocol set the target at a 7 percent reduction below 1990 levels by 2012.

In 2002, San Francisco set a goal of reaching a 20-percent reduction in GHG emissions below 1990 levels by 2012. While San Francisco has reduced emissions 5 percent since 1990, there has been a significant downturn of 8 percent from peak emissions in 2000, totaling 670,000 tons of GHG.

"We are already on pace to exceed the goal of a 7-percent reduction in greenhouse gases set by the Kyoto Protocol," said Newsom, "With the aggressive policies and initiatives being put forth by my administration, we can continue to move toward our goal of 20- percent reduction by 2012."

The results of the study were independently reviewed by ICF International, which has prepared the official U.S. Greenhouse Gas inventory and produced and reviewed hundreds of other public and private sector inventories. In ICF's opinion, the inventory provides a credible compilation of communitywide GHG emissions in the city and county of San Francisco.

According to a statement from ICF, "San Francisco's community inventory methodology goes above and beyond most current community inventories in the United States. These efforts are impressive given the inherent complexities and challenges in producing a communitywide inventory and the lack of a widely-accepted and standard communitywide inventory protocol."

The "communitywide inventory" includes GHG emissions generated by San Francisco by residents, businesses, and commuters, as well as municipal operations. The inventory also includes emissions from both transportation sources and from building energy sources.

Specific Communitywide Inventory reductions/increases between 1990 and 2005 include: • Transportation – The vast majority of transportation emissions come from car traffic. Intraregional emissions since 1990 have increased, in large part because commuters are traveling from farther away locations. Road vehicle emissions actually decreased since 1990.

• Buildings -- San Francisco has seen an overall reduction in electricity emissions between 1990 and 2005 (measured). This reduction in pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour reflects a cleaner electricity portfolio. This emission reduction comes despite an overall uptick each year since 2003 in community electricity usage. Community usage of natural gas has been flat since 2003. Natural gas usage has dropped 19 percent since 1990 due to a reduction in residential use. Commercial and industrial natural gas usage has gone up by about 15 percent.

Reductions in in-city generated pollutants and carbon dioxide emissions are in large part due to scaled back output of two fossil-fueled power plants located in the city.

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