The 0.7 Percent Absolution
Portland retracts claim that its CO2 emissions dropped below 1990 levels
Breaking the hearts of factoid-citers everywhere, the city of Portland, Ore., has issued a correction to its widely hailed announcement that last year its carbon-dioxide emissions dipped below 1990 levels. Thanks to a subtle data-entry mistake, the figures were miscalculated, and 2004 levels were actually 0.7 percent above 1990 levels. The city discovered the discrepancy when it supplied the data backing up its announcement to various researchers, including some from the Cascade Policy Institute, an Oregon-based libertarian think tank. CPI has made much of the less-than-one-percent error, publicly urging the city to retract its claim. Portland posted a corrected report on the web and sent out a press release that acknowledged the error but pointed out that its CO2 emissions have still fallen for the fourth consecutive year. Which is more than can be said for some countries we know.