Want A Smaller Carbon Footprint? Pick A Different Ruler

by | Oct 15, 2008

los_angeles.jpgIn the past six months, the Brookings Institute and a team of NASA researchers have respectively ranked Los Angeles as having the U.S.’s second-smallest and second-largest carbon footprint. That’s because of the difference in how carbon emissions get calculated, Forbes reports.

Kyoto Protocol measures carbon footprints in terms of emissions produced domestically, whereas another approach measures emissions generated in producing goods and services consumed in a specific place, regardless where the goods are produced.

Debates are now underway in the U.S. on how to find a way to calculate carbon emissions, and solve “carbon leakage.” Carbon leakage occurs when people don’t sign up to a global climate deal and don’t have to bear the costs of paying for the carbon they emit.

Discussions around the idea of carbon border taxes are also underway. The concept aims to avoid situations like the LA Water Department importing electricity from coal-fired power plants in Utah when the state restricts the use of coal-fired generation.

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