Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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Target: 40% below 1990 levels by 2025

Target: 40% below 1990 levels by 2025
Result: 30% below 1990 levels

San Francisco is actively addressing the causes of human-caused climate change. This measure captures citywide emissions from electricity, natural gas, on-road transportation, fuel, and waste in metric tons compared to the amount emitted in 1990.


Note:   Calculation Methodology changed in 2018 to include more greenhouse gas categories. The total emissions (in mtCO2e) have increased with the new categories, but the percentage difference from 1990 level remains the same.

How San Francisco is Performing

Greenhouse gas emissions in 1990 equaled 6.2 million metric tons. Emissions in 2012 totaled 4.8 million metric tons, a 23 percent reduction in emission levels compared to 1990. This reduction is the equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road, or avoiding the burning of 3.3 million barrels of oil a year. In 2010, San Francisco’s emissions were at 14.5 percent below 1990 levels. Since 2010, an additional 544,781 metric tons of carbon emissions were reduced, exceeding the 20 percent reduction goal for 2012. The reduction in carbon emissions can be attributed in part to more efficient vehicle fuels and the increased use of hybrid and electric cars, improvements in commercial electricity, and increased recycling and composting. San Francisco surpassed the goal of cutting emissions to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2017, and now aims to reach the long-term goal of further reducing emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2025.

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement which sets greenhouse gas emission targets based on 1990 levels. San Francisco established greenhouse gas emissions targets in the City’s Environment Code, Chapter 9, as follows:

  • By 2017, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent below 1990 levels
  • By 2025, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels
  • By 2050, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels

The Mayor’s office has requested that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission work together with the Department of the Environment, Office of Economic and Workforce Development, as well as other community and business organizations to develop a successful and reliable renewable energy business model to meet these goals.

How Performance is Measured

This metric is collected through an emissions inventory, conducted by the San Francisco Department of the Environment every two to three years. The inventory itself takes approximately two years, and another year to verify the results.

Additional Information

Visit the San Francisco Department of the Environment for detail on climate goals.


Please visit DataSF for the scorecard data.