New research from the Brookings Institution claims that Los Angeles has the second smallest carbon footprint of big American cities -- a finding that contains a few caveats.
"According to the Brookings Institution, a prestigious Washington think tank, the Los Angeles metropolitan area emits less planet-warming carbon per capita than any big city except Honolulu, at least by some criteria."
"In a report to be released today on energy use in residential buildings and highway transportation, Brookings ranks Los Angeles as greener than New York, with its network of subways; more virtuous than Portland, Ore., with its smartgrowth greenbelt, and, yes, even better than San Francisco, its eco-vain rival."
"'We are not at all surprised,' said Nancy Sutley, L.A.'s deputy mayor for energy and environment, citing the city's 'moderate climate, with fewer heating and air-conditioning days, and its relatively newer, less drafty housing stock' than in many parts of the U.S."
"Moreover, she added, 'sprawl is a lot worse in other parts of the U.S.'"
"But before the boasting starts, some words of caution: The calculations did not account for the fact that half the city's electricity comes from coal-fired power plants. Instead, Brookings used a state-wide average that included the hydroelectric and nuclear plants in Northern California."
"Omitted from the data are emissions from industries and commercial buildings, and from local roads apart from federal highways."