Carbon neutral cabinet

Tuesday, 29 January, 2008

South Australia’s cabinet ministers have announced plans to offset the greenhouse gases used in the course of their duties, including all air travel.

Premier Mike Rann said the government is about to begin purchasing enough carbon credits for the work of cabinet ministers to become carbon neutral.

“Today I am writing to all members of parliament — including the opposition and independent members, urging them to take up the challenge and follow cabinet’s lead,” Rann said.

“This state government, as the first to introduce and pass climate change legislation, has already committed to purchase 20% of the government's energy use from accredited Green Power. After we announced this, other state governments followed. This domino effect is good for the environment.

“We also have a 25% energy-efficiency target in South Australia’s strategic plan for all government buildings by 2014, and we are planting five million native trees.

“I am told that our 15 government ministers use an estimated 3000 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year in their use of electricity in both their electorate and ministerial offices as well as car and air travel.”

The total cost to offset that volume of greenhouse gas for 2006/07 is estimated at about $60,000.

“In my job I have to travel interstate about once a fortnight to seek investment and business opportunities for South Australia or attend COAG and other government meetings. All of this travel has been included in the calculations,” Rann said.

“I also intend offsetting my own private travel from now on — and have already personally purchased carbon offsets for my recent holiday overseas at the end of last year.”

The state government will tender for local providers of certified Greenhouse Friendly carbon credits from one of the abatement projects approved by the Australian Government under the Greenhouse Friendly initiative.

The government is currently working to gain Kyoto compliance for its Three Million Trees project and its River Murray Forest project so that they can be registered under the Australian Government’s Greenhouse Friendly program.

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