In order to assess progress towards reducing GHG emissions from both City operations and from the larger community we have to have a baseline which is used to measure emission reductions as the Plan is implemented. There are several decisions that effect how progress is measured. First, the baseline year needs to be established. The Kyoto Protocol
suggest using 1990 as the base year and that cities like Santa Fe reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to 7% below that level by 2012. In some cases the data from 1990 has not been available and staff has had to estimate GHG levels. As an example, the City is using financial data from 1990 to approximate emissions from City operations. Obtaining community-wide data has proven to be more challenging and we are working with both the State of New Mexico and Public Service of New Mexico to get an approximation of GHG emission levels for both 1990 and current.
The United Nations held a convention in 1997 in Kyoto Japan to address the concerns of global warming. Almost all of the world’s nations signed the protocols which resulted from the conference, though the United States did not. However, many local governments and some states have committed to reducing global warming and most look to the Kyoto Protocols for guidance on how to set goals for GHG reductions.