I was doing some research on Amsterdam for a presentation on sustainable cities, and somehow I came across this article in the Economist. Without being able to examine the Brooking's Institution's methodology, I'm a little suspicious, but frankly it doesn't surprise me as much as it probably surprises others that Los Angeles came out fairly green.
The authors make a good point that the weather works to LA's advantage. If you remember, I went without both heat and a/c for a whole year in LA with no problems whatsoever. Obviously most people are turning on their heat and a/c a little, but you need surprisingly little of either in LA. The coastal breezes keep things cool in the summer, and the desert climate means that the temperature drops substantially at night.
As for the length of commute, anecdotally I think it's probably true that a good number of Angelenos don't actually commute that far. I commuted about 10 miles a day to my job, and that is, I think, fairly average.
Like I said, without looking at the Brooking's report myself, I can't really critique their methodology ... excluding industry is also a problem, and given LA's aviation industry, that would probably make LA's numbers worse. But I imagine the report also ignored average food miles, which would probably work to LA's benefit.
Hmmmm ... I may have to move back to Los Angeles after all. :)
3 weeks ago