Doubt cast over offset planting

TREE-PLANTING schemes promoted by businesses and rock bands alike to offset carbon emissions do little to combat climate change, according to a think tank.

A paper by The Australia Institute released yesterday accuses governments and businesses of exploiting such "fads" to avoid the need for real cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

"By diverting people’s funds and attention to projects that are unlikely to reduce emissions significantly in the long term, some offset schemes could ultimately do more harm than good," Christian Downie, the author of the report, said.

"Tree-planting is the most popular type of carbon offset promoted in Australia but it is, in fact, the least effective for dealing with climate change.

"The evidence indicates that offsets from renewable energy are the most effective, followed by those from energy efficiency projects, with forestry projects ranked last."

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