In an effort to lead the region in becoming more sustainable, Metro, Portland’s regional planning agency, invested resources in entirely the wrong areas and so failed to significantly reduce its own energy consumption and pollution. But don’t believe me; just read this report by Metro’s own auditor.
The audit found that 91 percent of Metro’s carbon emissions resulted from power consumption and gas flaring at Metro’s landfills. Metro spent 3 percent of its sustainability resources trying to reduce these outputs. Meanwhile, commuting by Metro employees accounted for just 6 percent of Metro’s carbon emissions. So naturally, Metro invested 59 percent of its sustainability resources trying to get its people to drive less.
The report doesn’t say whether Metro actually was able to persuade some of its employees to drive less, and Metro probably has no idea. This is completely typical of Metro planning: focus on the wrong problem, don’t measure the outcomes, declare victory, and go home. Only in this case, Metro has an internal auditor keeping it honest.