Image courtesy of ah zut
By supporting local eco-friendly activities, San Francisco's novel offsetting program, dubbed the San Francisco Carbon Fund, would seek to redress one of the most commonly criticized aspects of carbon offsets: namely, the oft inscrutable nature of the projects being funded. In his announcement, Mayor Gavin Newsom explained that the program would seek to offset the carbon cost of city officials' municipal air travel by making contributions to one of several participating city programs aimed at lowering emissions.
Examples of the type of investments made under the city's offset program include converting restaurant grease into biodiesel or installing photovoltaic panels in low-income housing; the critical point, Newsom stressed, is that the offsets only fund local initiatives, not some that "promise action in distant lands." He said that the program wouldn't incur any additional costs, suggesting that the various city departments would need to reduce their travel time and pay for some trips with the offsets.In a later phase of the program, Newsom said that residents would be allowed to purchase offsets as well. According to the mayor's press release, it will also provide "City government, residents and businesses information regarding the true costs of carbon intensive activities, which are likely to be much higher than nominal amounts charged by several current offset programs."
Via ::Reuters: San Francisco to offset some emissions (news website)