Tuesday, February 01, 2011

BuboBlog's Claims Now Supported by Science!

Remember when I posited that San Francisco was a greener city than New York?

I was responding to a claim by New Yorker writer David Owen, who named New York as the most eco-friendly city in America. (He in turn was responding to a report calling Vermont the greenest state.)

His argument hinged on the fact that New York is so densely populated, letting people get by with less electricity (small apartments) and less gasoline (good public transit).

Well, San Francisco is second to New York in population density, and its transit isn't as reliable. But its residents use even less electricity, thanks in part to mild winters and mild summers. And it's more aggressive about recycling. That's why I suggested that San Francisco may be greener.

It turns out my hunch was right, at least based on a study of different cities' carbon emissions. Look who's No. 1.

Selected cities, ranked by carbon emissions per capita:
1. San Francisco: 10.1
2. New York: 10.5
3. Philadelphia: 11.1
4. San Diego: 11.4
5. Miami: 11.9
6. Chicago: 12.0
7. Portland, Ore.: 12.41
8. Los Angeles: 13.0
9. Boston: 13.3
10. Seattle: 13.68
11. Houston: 14.1
12. Juneau, Alaska: 14.37
13. Baltimore: 14.4
14. Dallas: 15.2
15. Austin, Texas: 15.57
16. Menlo Park: 16.37
17. Minneapolis: 18.34
18. Washington, D.C.: 19.70
19. Denver: 21.5

The main thrust of the report is that cities are greener than suburbs. So I guess I personally lost my eco bragging rights the moment we crossed the Bay and moved to Berkeley. It doesn't seem like anyone living in a detached single-family house can claim to be an environmentalist.

But I would hope to get some extra credit for our month of being homeless.