Resource Conservation Sustainable City Progress Report Resource Conservation

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Source 1990-2000


Greenhouse Gas Emissions


The scientific community and, increasingly the general public, accept climate change as a genuine scientific phenomenon which human activity has accelerated. The city has included a measure of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) among its indicators because it recognizes that the physical and socio-economic disruptions which climate change will cause if unabated will be unsustainable for the community and the region. 

The target for this indicator is to reduce emissions 30% below 1990 levels by 2015 for city operations and to reduce emissions 15% below 1990 levels by 2015 for the city as a whole.


The City of Santa Monica has reduced its emission of greenhouse gasses. Overall, greenhouse gas emissions in 2000 have declined by less than 1% over 1990 levels. Greenhouse gas emissions decreased from 1990 to 1995, then increased slightly from 1995 to 2000. In this period, industrial energy use and GHG emissions decreased while residential and commercial sectors increased slightly.

The per capita GHG emissions rose in that time in that time from 10.3 to 10.6 tons per person.

The majority of the reduction in GHG emissions occurred in the waste sector in which emissions fell 36%.  As of this writing, 2005 GHG emissions hadn’t been computed, however, an increase is expected in 2005.


Santa Monica GHG Emission Reduction Policy
The city’s approach to reducing emissions is through energy efficiency and reducing fossil fuel consumption for transportation by encouraging public transportation use, ridesharing.  The city also promotes onsite renewable energy generation, and has begun implementation of its Community Energy Independence Initiative. This initiative will serve the dual objectives of reducing GHG Emissions and reducing Santa Monica’s reliance on a private utility for its energy needs.  As a part of the Initiative, this year Solar Santa Monica was launched, deploying energy efficiency, solar energy and clean distributed generation into the community.  Twenty solar projects were installed last year!

Santa Monica is a charter member of the California Climate Action Registry, a non-profit organization which provides tools for measurement of GHG emissions and forum in which municipalities, corporations and other entities can document emissions reductions over time.  The city of Santa Monica has set aside funds for another emissions inventory and for certification of the results. Once those steps are taken, the city will be in a position to comply with state regulations governing emissions as they take shape.

California GHG Emission Reduction Policy
Consistent with its position on clean air legislation in the past, California has exhibited strong leadership in the area of GHG Emissions regulation.  In particular, AB 1493, passed in 2002 introduced by former California Assemblymember Fran Pavley (41st District) regulates tailpipe emissions, requiring all cars and light duty trucks restrict their emissions by 2009 to the maximum extent technically possible without compromising performance. This bill is still receiving some resistance in its implementation by the US EPA. A ruling on whether California has authority to regulate its own tailpipe emissions despite its previous explicit authority to do so is expected in December 2007.

The California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), California’s landmark legislation, regulates stationary emissions of businesses and municipalities Since its passage last fall, a number of U.S. states have joined California-led initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Western United States and throughout the country. The target reductions provided for in AB 32 are a reduction in emissions to 25% of 1990 levels by 2020.

Another approach to reducing state emissions is legal redress via by the California State Attorney General’s office. The County of San Bernardino has recently settled a lawsuit from the State of California for failing to address global warming in its rapid expansion plans.  This suit and resulting settlement demonstrates that local jurisdictions are being held accountable for the real impacts to the environment of failure to increase energy efficiency and permit sprawl in its urban planning.




Unknown, probably worsening


Change your incandescent light bulbs to compact flourescents.
Consider going solar with Solar Santa Monica
Visit California Energy Commission's webpage on climate change to stay abreast of California’s leadership on the issues.


View source material in Excel:  RC5_GHG_Emissions.xls
Email contact for data source inquires: 


Last updated: Monday, 05/17/2010
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Santa Monica Office of Sustainability and the Environment
1685 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90401 · (310) 458-2213 · TTY (310) 917-6626