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SF's Dainty Carbon Footprint Caused by Density, Transit

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Another point to fling in the face of those you left behind to move to San Francisco: According to the a study by the Brookings Institution, a D.C.-based nonprofit policy org, San Francisco has the eighth-smallest carbon footprint in (PDF) a ranking of the nation's 100 largest metro areas.

From the report's (PDF) individual profiles of the metro areas:

The residential portion of San Francisco's per capita footprint decreased 16.2 percent between 2000 and 2005, compared to a slight decrease of 0.7 percent in the 100 largest metro areas. The average resident in metropolitan San Francisco emitted 1.585 tons of carbon from highway transportation and residential energy in 2005 (rank 8th). This compares with 2.24 tons of carbon emitted by the average 100-metro resident and 2.60 tons of carbon emitted by the average American from transportation and residential energy. The average San Francisco resident emitted 0.390 tons of carbon from residential energy use (rank 7th). The average 100-metro resident emitted 0.925 tons and the average American emitted 1.16 tons of carbon from residential energy use. The average San Francisco resident emitted 0.176 tons from electricity (rank 5th) and 0.215 tons from residential fuels (rank 43rd). This compares to 0.611 tons from electricity and 0.314 tons from fuels from the average 100-metro resident.

While SF's overall rank can be ascribed, in part, to its temperate climate (therefore, less heating and air conditioning), dense development, and accessible public transportation (before you scoff, consider what public transportation must be like in #90 Tulsa, or #71, East Lansing, MI. Muni's looking pretty good now, eh?). The emission decreases between 200-2005, however, will probably be taken credit for in a flurry of self-congratulatory press releases sure to clog our inboxes over the next few days. Selves: steeled.

· Shrinking the Carbon Footprint of Metropolitan America [Brookings Institution]

· S.F. among lowest carbon emitters in U.S. [SFGate]