Last month the Los Angeles City Council voted to call on the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to develop a plan to wean us off fossil fuel and go 100 percent “clean energy.” Councilman Paul Krekorian, who co-authored the motion, called it “an enormous step forward that will help preserve our environment and lead us to a more sustainable future.”
And earlier this month the U.S. Green Building Council was in town with its Greenbuild International Conference and Expo 2016. “California and Los Angeles continue to be leaders in green building, demonstrating the potential for public-private partnership to boost green building in the state,” according to organizers.
But is L.A. really that green? A new analysis from personal finance site WalletHub looked at data on pollution, transportation, energy sources, lifestyles and environmental policy in the largest 100 cities in the United States to come up with a ranking of 2016’s Greenest Cities in America.
Los Angeles did not make the top 10. In fact, at number 19, we barely made the top 20. Why? Our smog-prone environment ranked 58th. Our car culture helped us rank 30th for transportation. And for energy sources (17th) and lifestyle (21st) we aren't exactly knocking it out of the park.
L.A. did well — fifth place — in farmers markets per capita, the analysis found. Because kale will save the day.
Despite L.A.'s mediocre overall showing, California cities did well in this analysis. San Francisco came in first place. San Jose (third), Fremont (fourth), San Diego (fifth) and Sacramento (ninth) had honorable performances, too. Honolulu, which had the best air quality recorded on the list, came in second place overall.
Riverside and San Bernardino shared the distinction of having the worst air quality in America, according to WalletHub. But, hey, the Inland Empire offers high crime rates, epic home foreclosures and plenty of methamphetamine. It has it all.
At least Los Angeles wasn't the worst overall city on this list. That accolade belongs to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, home to a number of oil refineries. The environment there ranked 98th, which makes you want to take a deep breath of L.A. air.