Posted by Car Geek on October 9, 2007
Our green car options might be considerably more limited here than in other places around the world, but until we catch up, there’s always the old fallback of carbon offsets. ibuyeco, which originally launched in Britain earlier this year, is now offering its carbon neutral insurance policies to Australian drivers. The policies will include a surcharge that goes towards projects that effectively cancel the policy holder’s vehicle emissions each year.
The projects that the proceeds go towards will be managed by Greening Australia, who says that its carbon offsetting activities will meet the “Greenhouse Friendly” Australian government standards and will be independently audited.
Insurance companies have often been quicker to adopt climate-friendly schemes than other industries, being at particular risk from potentially severe weather events that could increase due to global warming. NRMA Queensland is also offering a carbon offset program, offsetting one tonne of carbon dioxide with every comprehensive car insurance policy until February next year, but the automotive sector in Australia has largely failed to take up the challenge to significantly reduce or offset the emissions from their products.
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Posted by Car Geek on September 7, 2007
Qantas will be launching a carbon offset program in late September, to reduce the impact of its air operations. The option will be available to customers to purchase carbon offsets approximate to the emissions generated from their trip when they buy their ticket. Rob Kella, Qantas’ chief risk officer, says that in addition to offsetting emissions generated by customers, the company will also offset all emissions generated from staff travel and ground equipment, as well as all emissions for the opening day of the program.
(Source: Climate Change Corp)
Posted in Aviation, Carbon offset | 2 Comments »
Posted by Car Geek on August 7, 2007
Carbon offsets are becoming a popular way to ease consumer doubt about their impact on climate change, with members of the transport industry such as Virgin Blue and Saab recently offering such programs to their customers. A report by the Australia Institute, however, questions the real benefit of these programs.
The report, entitled “Carbon Offsets: Saviour or Cop-Out?“, was released this month and details the current carbon offset systems in Australia and their relative effectiveness. Its author, Christian Dowdie, claims that consumers are being “misled by claims that offset companies can make them ‘carbon neutral’” and accuses both the government and industry of using carbon offset programs, particularly those involving tree planting, “as a smokescreen to distract people from the need to cut emissions”.
Carbon Offsets: Saviour or Cop-Out? is particularly critical of forestry methods of carbon offsets, when compared to other methods such as renewable energy and energy efficiency. “Tree-planting, or forestry, cannot secure real, measurable and permanent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions because sooner or later the forest will be felled, burned or destroyed,” Mr Downie said.
“When (people) buy offsets from a forestry project with their airline ticket, for example, they are actually buying a promise that the immediate emissions from their flight will be gradually offset over the next 100 years.
“There can be very little, if any, guarantee that this will actually happen.”
The findings will no doubt be of particular importance to Saab, who has recently entered into a partnership with Greenfleet to offset the emissions from each new vehicle it sells through tree plantation.
The report is available to the public through The Australia Institute web site.
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Posted by Car Geek on August 2, 2007
The New South Wales Greens have attacked Saab over their “Grrrrrreen” advertising campaign (covered earlier here) through which buyers can offset the predicted carbon emissions from their vehicles through planted trees. The Greens have taken the complaint to the ACCC, accusing the car maker of making deceptive claims about its greenhouse gas emissions.
Lee Rhiannon, from the NSW Greens, says that the Saab vehicles were “relatively fuel-inefficient, had a poor greenhouse gas rating and poor-to-average air pollution rating, according to the Federal Government’s Green Vehicle Guide”. The carbon offset company being used, Greenfleet, is not independently monitored but says that the trees will be planted approximately one year after payment from Saab.
In addition to the carbon offset scheme, Saab also recently launched its BioPower 9-5, which can use any ethanol blend up to 85 per cent, though blends higher than 10 per cent are currently unavailable in Australia.
My thoughts: although it’s important to ensure that companies that announce programs such as this act responsibly, to Saab’s credit they are one of the few companies in Australia that has taken any sort of significant step towards reducing the impact of their vehicles. The problem lies not so much with Saab, who have the details of their plan readily available for anyone to see, but with customers who might take the offset as a reason to use more fuel, since the average consumption is being offset. Changing that mentality would yield better results, but it’s also far more difficult than simply attacking advertising.
(Source: Sydney Morning Herald)
Posted in Carbon offset, Ethanol | 2 Comments »
Posted by Car Geek on July 9, 2007
In what is likely an Australian first, Saab has shifted their entire range to be carbon neutral. In essence, any Saab purchased before September 30, 2007 will be carbon offset for the expected use in the first year. This applies to every new vehicle in the range. In addition, Saab is releasing a BioPower 9-5 with a 2.3L turbocharged engine that can run on unleaded, E85 or any combination of the two, with the vehicle’s engine “adjusting accordingly”. According to Saab this results in a significant increase in available power when using E85, although there is no word about its fuel consumption. Saab is releasing this model in anticipation of E85 becoming available in Australia in the near future; given the resistance from government and public interest groups to use anything more than E10, the true usefulness of Saab’s BioPower 9-5 may not be apparent for a while yet.
Posted in Biofuels, Carbon offset, Ethanol | 2 Comments »