What is this indicator?

Greenhouse gas emissions are generated from the combustion of fossil fuels through electricity generation, natural gas use in buildings and vehicle fuels, from the decomposition of waste from agriculture and landfills, and from deforestation. Santa Monica's emission sources are from building energy use, landfilled waste and vehicle fuel use. It is measured here in terms of metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MTCO2e). This metric captures carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (NO2) and methane (CH4) in a singular metric. The target is a 20% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 2020.

Why is it important?

The accumulation of greenhouse gases causes global warming by trapping more heat in the Earth's atmosphere. As global warming increases, it disrupts the Earth's historical climate patterns, which is causing more extreme weather events in increased frequency. This phenomena is generally known as climate change. Globally, climate change is responsible for increased temperatures and heatwaves, infrequent and intense precipitation, increased ocean temperatures and acidification, more frequent and intense wildfires and drought. Additionally, global warming has increased the rate of glacial melting in the northern hemisphere, which is causing sea-level rise.
Some impacts of climate change are unavoidable. However, by curbing greenhouse gas emissions communities have the opportunity to improve quality of life, preserve natural resources and enhance sustainability. Reducing energy use, increasing renewable energy, improving mobility and active transportation and reducing waste will enable us to sustain and improve a quality of life that is in balance with our natural environment.

How are we doing?

Since 1990, Santa Monica's emissions have decreased by 29% (2018 data). This decrease in emissions can be attributed to a variety of factors including increased energy efficiency and renewable energy and increased fuel efficiency. To learn more about the City's climate action planning efforts, visit smgov.net/climate.

How can I help?

  • Lower your greenhouse gas emissions by:
  • Taking transit, biking, or walking instead of driving when possible
  • Investing in an electric vehicle
  • Installing solar at your home or business
  • Improving energy efficiency. Learn about energy savings and rebate programs here
  • Reducing meat and dairy consumption