Community Emissions

Community GHG Inventory

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories
The Community wide GHG Inventory helps the City of Cambridge benchmark community-wide emissions, and provides a necessary foundation that enables Cambridge to track progress towards emission reduction goals, and engage specific market sectors in actions to reduce emissions.

About the Community GHG Emissions Inventory
In 2017, the City completed its most comprehensive community-wide GHG Inventory for the year 2012. Another inventory for a more recent year will be completed in 2018, and will tell us how emissions have changed over time, and if we’re on track to meet our carbon neutral goals.

The community-wide inventory follows the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC) developed by the World Resources Institute, C40 Cities, and ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability and required by The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM) , of which Cambridge is a member.

Community GHG Emissions Results
Community wide GHG emissions for the City of Cambridge were nearly 1.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) in 2012. The emissions were generated in the buildings, transportation, and waste management sectors.

Community GHG Emissions by sector

GHG emissions by sector

Stationary energy use, such as electricity and natural gas use in buildings, accounted for the majority of the community’s emissions at 82%.


For the stationary energy use sector, GHG emissions are split fairly evenly between electricity at 50% and natural gas at 47%, while fuel oil accounts for only 3% of emissions. Within stationary energy sector, commercial buildings account for 78% of emissions from the sector.

Community emissions by sub-sector

Transportation, which include vehicles registered in Cambridge and a portion of the public transportation system only, accounts for about 11% of community wide emissions.

Most of the transportation emissions are from privately owned passenger and commercial vehicles registered in Cambridge.

2012 transportation emissions by sub-sector

Emission from waste management account for about 7% of community-wide emissions.

There are two main sources of emissions from solid waste management: waste sent to landfill and waste sent to incineration. Although only a small portion of our waste goes to landfill, it produces a majority of the emissions from waste. This is because landfilled waste results in methane emissions, which is a GHG that is far more potent than CO2. When waste is incinerated it results primarily in CO2 emissions. 

community-wide waste emissions

Click here for the full 2012 Community GHG Inventory Report

Click here for methodology used to complete the 2012 Community GHG Inventory