ClimateSmart Program:
Pioneering Climate Change Solutions

The ClimateSmart program helps customers such as Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. offset the greenhouse gas emissions associated with their operations, while helping to produce jobs and revenue for local communities.

Given the scope of the climate challenge, it’s critical for all of us—individuals, businesses and other organizations—to take meaningful steps to address it. PG&E’s pioneering ClimateSmart program provides a voluntary, tax-deductible opportunity to do so, enabling customers to offset the greenhouse gas emissions that are produced by the energy they use.

To date, approximately 30,000 customers, including PG&E, have enrolled in the program. To participate, customers pay a separate amount on their monthly energy bill, based on their actual energy use. PG&E invests 100 percent of these payments in new, independently verified projects that reduce or remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

Last year, despite California’s economic challenges and a nationwide decline in charitable giving, enrollment by business and government customers increased by 20 percent. New enrollments included companies such as Fresh Choice, Juniper Networks, Rodney Strong Vineyards and Orchard Supply Hardware. While enrollment by residential customers declined slightly in 2009, the program balanced out more greenhouse gas emissions in 2009 than any prior year of the program.

Through the program, PG&E also partnered with business customers, as well as leading environmental organizations such as the California State Parks Foundation, to communicate the importance of taking action to address climate change.

PG&E has invested in seven groundbreaking greenhouse gas emission reduction projects, making the ClimateSmart program the leading buyer of Climate Action Reserve (CAR) verified emission reductions. The projects, which collectively total nearly 1.2 million metric tons, include forest conservation and the capture of methane gas from dairy farms and landfills.

Importantly, all of the program’s verified emission reductions will be permanently “retired,” meaning they cannot be used by PG&E or anyone else for any purpose other than offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions from participating customers. The ClimateSmart program has retired more greenhouse gas emission reductions than any other organization, retiring 380,000 metric tons from the Garcia River Forest Carbon Project and the Big River and Salmon Creek Forest Carbon Project.

For more than five years, PG&E has been a strong and active partner with the CAR, developing, road-testing and promoting the critical protocols and infrastructure to support California’s emerging voluntary carbon market. Through the ClimateSmart program, PG&E is demonstrating that high-quality greenhouse gas emission reduction projects represent a credible and practical way to combat climate change.

ClimateSmart Program Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Projects
Project About Location Type Emission Reduction
(Metric Tons)
Garcia River Forest Carbon Project One of the first two projects verified and registered by the CAR Mendocino County Forestry 200,000
Lompico Forest Carbon Project First project to be verified under Version 3.1 of the CAR’s Forest Project Protocols Santa Cruz mountains Forestry 14,148
Arcata Community Forest Carbon Project First project of its kind in California involving a local government City of Arcata Forestry 40,000
Big River and Salmon Creek Forest Carbon Project Largest CAR project created to date Mendocino County Forestry 600,000
California Bioenergy Dairy Methane Capture Project One of the first livestock methane capture projects in California Bakersfield Livestock 75,000
Hay Road Landfill One of the first landfill gas capture projects in California undergoing CAR verification Vacaville Landfill 90,750
Yuba-Sutter Landfill First CAR project in California capturing gas from a closed landfill Marysville Landfill 47,000