This blog is now hosted on my website at; please update your bookmarks to follow the latest posts. Thanks!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

PG&E Launches ClimateSmart - A Green Energy Option for Californians

I was excited to receive this information from Pacific Gas & Electric today!

Dear Tamara,

I am pleased to announce the public launch of ClimateSmart today. ClimateSmart is a first-of-its kind, voluntary program that allows you to make your energy use "climate neutral.” Designed to be a best-in-class program, ClimateSmart will invest 100% of the funds in independently certified greenhouse gas emission reduction projects in California.

We are all responsible for climate change due to the lifestyles we live. Many of our daily activities – including using energy in our homes and offices – generate greenhouse gases. The most cost-effective way to reduce these emissions is to use energy more efficiently. Take advantage of PG&E’s energy efficiency, rebates and programs at While doing what you can to reduce your energy use, ClimateSmart lets you make the rest climate neutral.

We invite you to return to We have recently launched new tools and information on the program including:

· ClimateSmart cost estimator – use this online tool to estimate your ClimateSmart amount based on your use of electricity and natural gas.

· Learn about the competitive bidding process we are using to select independent, high quality ClimateSmart greenhouse gas emission reduction projects.

· Discover your carbon footprint with our online carbon footprint calculator.

Enroll online today!

To learn more or to sign up, please visit:

Yay! I've been waiting for this for a while. They say it will cost the average household under $5 a month to participate - well worth it if it truly delivers on its promise to effectively neutralize your home energy usage. I just tried to go sign up but I need my PG&E account number and I don't keep my bills, so I guess as soon as the next bill comes I'll be signing up!


Anonymous said...

This program has nothing to do with PG&E providing safer healthier energy. It has everything to do with them redirecting well-intentioned people from demanding corporate accountability for renewables towards people feel it an individual burden.

Consider the real reason behind this hype.

Anonymous said...

PG&E is up to their greenwashing tactics again! Here's why ClimateSmart isn't all that PG&E and the press states it is:

1) PG&E's new "ClimateSmart" doesn't commit PG&E to provide any green energy.

2) ClimateSmart is about PG&E allowing you, the customer, to pay more money each month to offset their company's emissions.

3) Californians need clean energy and PG&E should be looking out for our best interest instead of fighting to cover its tracks.

4) PG&E’s corporate social responsibility report admits it’s plan “to enroll approximately 4 to 5 percent of eligible customers into the program by the end of its third year.” That leaves 95% of the impact completely untouched.

5) PG$E is launching a $17 million PR campaign to advertise "ClimateSmart". And it is charging it all to you by raising your monthly bill. That’s right. Every time you see an ad from PG&E promoting this greenwashing, you can be proud to know that the state regulators allowed them to pass the buck to you.

6) This program has nothing to do with PG&E making an effort to reduce emissions from it’s electricity. PG&E is responsible for 18 million tons of carbon emissions each year. It is the largest source of carbon emissions in San Francisco. Unlike most businesses, PG&E can actually reduce emissions from electric power generation all over the state by choosing to sell clean renewable energy. ClimateSmart does not make PG&E’s power any cleaner.

7) PG$E’s own commitment to ClimateSmart is merely to pay to plant trees to offset the impact of its office buildings, not the impact of the power generators it owns.

8) Offsets should only be used to address the remaining energy after all other efforts have been made to reduce demand and use renewable energy.

9) PG&E is using the least sound form of offset. Tree planting, or forest-management, is a double-whammy: it fails to improve our energy system and it forces future generations to manage those particular forests indefinitely. This type of offset is not allowed under Kyoto.

10) PG$E says it “may enter into ghg emission reduction contracts where the reductions occur over time into the future.” Counting future reductions today is like telling the bank to count all the mortgage payments you plan to make for the next 10 years, and asking them to consider your debt paid off now. This dubious choice of carbon accounting methodology smells like Enron.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

PG&E’s ClimateSmart plan tells customers that if they care about the climate, they should pay to offset the company’s emissions. PG&E knows that by shifting the responsibility on to the consumers, the overwhelming majority of it’s impact (95%) will never be addressed. This is a common corporate strategy for keeping the public from demanding corporate accountability. Welcome to greenwashing.

On top of the danger of shifting climate responsibility away from energy companies and government and towards the millions of individual consumers, there is the simple fact that offsetting is not an acceptable strategy for the company determining the type of energy being used by 14 million Californians. PG&E’s primary area of impact, and therefore responsibility, is on the type of electricity it provides. And advertising offsets is no compensation for its claim that nuclear is an environmentally-friendly choice nor of its use of 0% solar. We can do better. “ClimateSmart”? We think it's more like ClimateCopout. What do you think?

More ClimateSmart Critique:

Poonam Whabi