Aussie air travel clocks up tonnes of emission

Air travel in Australia in 2004 accounted for about 4.8 million tonnes of emissions, according to the latest National Greenhouse Accounts, but the national accounts don’t include international travel, meaning that the emissions from overseas flights hang in mid-air, reported The Courier-Mail (19/8/2006, p.71).

Australia created a total of 564.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in 2004, with Queensland making up almost 30 per cent, according to the accounts.

39m tonnes from air travel: A report commissioned by not-for-profit organisation Carbon Neutral has claimed the actual amount of carbon dioxide produced by air travel, taking into account the international flights, is more likely to be about 39 million tonnes, eight times the Federal Government’s official figures.

Emissions offset offer: Carbon Neutral, based in Western Australia, offers the greener traveller the chance to ease the impact flights have on the planet. The organisation’s website works out how many tonnes of harmful gases your flight creates (based on a 75 per cent full Boeing 747) and the number of trees you would need to plant to cancel it out.

Native trees to absorb CO2: Then you can choose to pay Carbon Neutral to plant those native trees for you which, over the next 30 years, will absorb the carbon dioxide pumped out from the plane’s engines.

Scheme not popular: Despite the fact that payments are tax-deductible, the scheme has not been an easy one to sell, particularly to the travel industry. Just 10 people have chosen to offset flight greenhouse gas emissions in this first year.

Qld Govt pays for 400,000 trees: Victoria-based Greenfleet is another organisation offering an offset service for flights and vehicle emissions. One of its biggest supporters is the Queensland Government’s commercial vehicle business QFleet, which has paid for more than 400,000 trees to be planted to offset its emissions.

EPA seeks air travel options: The Queensland Government’s Environmental Protection Agency said it was currently looking at ways to offset the carbon emissions created by the air travel of its staff.

2.5m extra trees for Qld: Greenfleet has planted some 2.5 million trees in Queensland and will plant an additional 87,000 this year, including 37,000 at Elanda Point on the Sunshine Coast and 10,000 around Somerset Dam.

Vic organisations on board: Monash University in Victoria, business services company SAI Global (with offices in Brisbane) and Victorian Government agency Sustainability Victoria are all paying Greenfleet to offset the environmental impacts of staff air travel. Greenfleet communications manager Cathie Agg said: "This is not just a feel-good exercise."

The Courier Mail, 19/8/2006, p. 71

Source: Erisk Net  

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