Rather than funding replanting tree farms in other hemispheres or investing in alternative power systems on the other side of the planet, San Francisco has created the San Francisco Carbon Fund, a first-ever city-based carbon offset program that will fund local green activities such as energy efficiency projects and solar panel installations for low-income housing, as well as biodiesel conversion programs that support the conversion of waste into fuel.
“Globally, the market for carbon offsets is growing rapidly, estimated to top $10 billion by 2010, and there is absolutely no regulation,” said Jared Blumenfeld, director of San Francisco’s Environment Department. “However, by developing our own program and funding local projects, we have the ability to assure that the offsets actually happen, benefit the local community, and help achieve our aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals.”
The plan is for the carbon fund to begin as a pilot program to offset emissions from municipal air travel. It will be expanded to San Francisco residents, businesses and visitors once the program infrastructure has been established.
When the program is rolled out citywide, the Department of the Environment will issue an RFP for local greenhouse gas reduction projects that can be covered by the fund.