Monday, January 28, 2008

Albuquerque's GHG "reductions"

John Fleck had a great article recently on Albuquerque's purported 6% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 1990. As he wrote in his lead:
It is a claim every Albuquerque resident who cares about global warming could be proud of: Since 1990, city residents have cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 6 percent.
It is also untrue.
The story is here.
In June, [Mayor] Chávez accepted an award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which declared Albuquerque "the greenest city in the nation." The award application, written by city staff, was based in part on the erroneous preliminary data.
John really takes the study apart. Read the whole thing.

I think this is an important story. A lot of cities are making similar claims (as did Portland, Oregon last year), and over the next few years, lots of countries are going to be doing the same thing. They are based on sketchy data and incomplete models, and often seem driven by political posturing more than anything, with the bureaucrats writing the reports determined to put their leaders in a good light.

It's too bad there's no way easily measure their claims by simply measuring regional GHG concentration levels. I expect a lot of cities and countries are going to be making similar claims over the next several years, but curiously the Keeling Curve will keep going up.

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