Just how climate-ready is Portland?

A ranking of the top-10 climate-ready cities caught my eye Tuesday. Actually, it caught my eye because of a snarky comment I saw on Twitter, but more about that later.

With Portland Mayor Sam Adams recently dazzling the crowd at the C40 Cities Climate Summit, I started wondering, for all of Portland's green cred, how climate-proof is our economy?

Well, Boyd Cohen, CEO of CO2 Impact, a company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Bogata, Columbia (go figure), wondered something similar.

"I felt that it was time to do some analysis on U.S. cities which are positioning themselves to be leaders in climate capitalism," Cohen wrote in his post on green business blog TriplePundit.com.

Boyd gathered data from a variety of sources, looking at the number of commitments a city has made to climate change causes and programs, transit use, green buildings, cleantech investment — what you'd expect in a ranking like this.

The results aren't all that surprising. Portland came in third in the ranking of the top 10 climate-ready cities. San Francisco took the top spot, and Seattle was ranked No. 2.

Cohen acknowledges that data is never perfect, and I quibble with some of the details. Portland was ranked sixth for transit use while Seattle was ranked third. Really? Have you been to Seattle? Portland also got a big fat zero for cleantech investment when there are a number of investors working very hard to change that picture with some pretty significant wins in recent months.

[Update: I had the chance to talk with Cohen and it turns out he was using transit data that only looked at rail use. His investment data came from CB Insights.]

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Christina Williams is the editor of Sustainable Business Oregon. Contact her here: christinawilliams@bizjournals.com | (503) 219-3438 | @SustainableBzOR


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