Intro background

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) are produced when we use energy in our homes and offices, dispose of waste or sewage, and use vehicles. GHGs trap heat in the atmosphere, leading to lasting disruptions in our climate, such as higher temperatures, sea level rise, and more frequent extreme weather events that can cause flooding. Cambridge, along with many other cities, organizations, and businesses, both nationally and internationally, has committed to significantly reduce GHG emissions by 2050 to avoid severe impacts from climate change.

City buildings lit up at night

Community GHG Emissions

Our Goals

Cambridge has established a goal to have net-zero GHG emissions community-wide by 2050.

In 2022, the City conducted a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory with data from 2019. Cambridge has committed to the Global Covenant of Mayors (GCoM), a global network of cities that have committed to reducing emissions, which requires that we update the inventory every 3 to 5 years. 

UNIT

Greenhouse gases (GHGs) have a natural heat trapping capacity which varies by gas. Humans produce more carbon dioxide (CO2) than any other GHG. We count emissions of GHGs based on how each GHG’s heat trapping capacity compares to CO2s. This is called the "CO2 equivalent" (CO2e). We measure GHGs in metric tons of CO2e (MTCO2e).

MTCO2eMetric Tons Carbon Dioxide Equivalent

Greenhouse gases (GHGs) have a natural heat trapping capacity which varies by gas. Humans produce more carbon dioxide (CO2) than any other GHG. We count emissions of GHGs based on how each GHG’s heat trapping capacity compares to CO2s. This is called the "CO2 equivalent" (CO2e). We measure GHGs in metric tons of CO2e (MTCO2e).

MTCO2eMetric Tons Carbon Dioxide Equivalent
Image of buildings on a tree-lined street on front cover of City plan document

How Does Cambridge Track Municipal Emissions?

Cambridge has reduced its GHG emissions by 38% between 2008 and 2022 by decreasing energy use, switching to cleaner fuels, and reducing waste.

Overhead image of cars parked in a parking lot

Did You Know?

Cambridge's 2022 GHG emissions from municipal operations are equivalent to the GHG emissions from 3,802 passenger vehicles driving for one year.

How You Can Help

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Throughout our daily lives, we all take actions that produce GHGs. Here are some actions you can take to reduce your contribution to the community's emissions:

  1. Reduce your energy use at home or work. Buildings represent nearly two-thirds of community GHG emissions.
  2. Switch to renewable energy. Clean energy sources produce fewer GHGs than fossil fuels.
  3. Reduce your waste by recycling and composting. Solid waste and incineration accounts for 6.4% of community GHG emissions. 
  4. Prioritize low-carbon transportation. Cambridge residents have many options to get around without a vehicle.


Visit the City's website for information on renewable options.
Learn what can go in your curbside recycling bins.
See how bike, pedestrian, and transit infrastructure can help you get to where you are going.
Electric vehicles can emit up to 99% less pollutants than cars with internal combustion engines.
null