The Road Ahead : June July 2007
News in Brief WITH JON DEE temperature rise of three degrees or more. The planet would become a far less friendly place for our children to live on. The need to reduce emissions in all par ts of our lives is now established beyond doubt. The latest 2005 figures from the Australian Greenhouse Office show that transpor t now accounts for about 14 percent of our greenhouse emissions. This is an increase of 29.9 percent over 1990 figures. Looking specifically at passenger cars, they're responsible for about 7 percent of our emissions. These figures led one motoring journalist to write, "replace existing light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs and you can keep your V8". Given the scale of the problem, I would have to disagree with him. We need to reduce our emissions in ever y par t of our lives. The government recently introduced my idea to phase out incandescent globes over three years. With people only able to buy energy saving globes, that will reduce annual greenhouse emissions by more than 12 million tonnes. It will also save households more than $1 billion ever y year. In addition to this, we could also install insulation, switch to GreenPower, turn off lights, put solar hot water heaters on our roofs and introduce a myriad of other changes. While there are other par ts of our economy that cause bigger emissions, reducing the climate impact of our cars is still a personal action that each of us should take. The need to create a safer future for Australia's kids is a moral responsibility that each and ever y one of us shares. Jon Dee is the founder and chairman of Planet Ark (www.planetark.org). Global warming issue hots up ECO- MOTORING With so many of the world's top rock stars appearing at Al Gore's 'Live Ear th' concer ts on July 7, the issue of climate change will once again be front page headlines. As we all know, most of the media coverage tends to focus on the negative impacts of global warming. What gets less coverage is the fact that the technical know- how to reduce our greenhouse emissions already exists. All that's missing is the will to implement these solutions at a level that will make a significant difference. A new repor t by the United Nations exper t panel on climate change has recommended that countries need to act decisively and quickly. Using year 2000 levels, they recommend that global greenhouse emissions need to be slashed by 50 to 85 percent by 2050. Exper ts estimate that failure to do so will result in a world BLUE GOING GREEN Airline Virgin Blue has announced a carbon offset program, with the most visible element a plea to flyers to voluntarily contribute as little as $1 to approved abatement programs such as forestr y activities, energy-efficiency measures, waste diversion and recycling, and renewable energy generation. Virgin has also made a financial commitment to offset the greenhouse impacts of its own crew and staff travelling on company business. The funding, expected to be around $500,000 a year, will be channelled into projects aimed at long-term greenhouse gas reductions. Meanwhile, a record number of international air passengers visited Australia in 2006, according to the Bureau of Transpor t and Regional Economics. FORESTRY PERMITS OUT Private visitors will no longer need permits to access most of Queensland's state forests and plantations for recreational activities. The change makes it easier for four- wheel-drivers, motorcycle riders, horse riders and cyclists to visit the areas, although not all roads will be opened. People involved in commercial activities, group or competitive events will still need permits. V8 RACERS CLEAN-UP Motorspor t has a new pin-up following a decision to make the V8 Supercars series carbon neutral, mainly through a tree-planting scheme. The V8 Racing Green program will offset all carbon dioxide emissions from the V8 Supercar races, plus travel and promotional activities of the teams, by planting about 10,000 trees with Future Climate Australia. 12 JUN/JLY 07 "The need to reduce emissions in all parts of our lives is now established beyond doubt."
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