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Landcare Research awards guilt-free car mileage

Landcare Research awards guilt-free car mileage

Six environmentally conscious organisations have won an unusual prize * the chance to run a car for a year without worrying about its greenhouse gas emissions.

The prize will be awarded by staff of the Emissions-Biodiversity Exchange (EBEX21®) project, run by Landcare Research. One major role of EBEX21® is to enable users to measure their use of electricity and fossil fuels, the tonnage of CO2 produced by this, and the area of native bush required to absorb the associated carbon.

EBEX21® executive officer Ian Turney says the six organisations have won CarbonZero* certificates and car stickers, representing the carbon offset of 4 tonnes of CO2. This means that for one year at least, a car trip need not be a guilt trip.

"Four tonnes is the equivalent volume of greenhouse gas from an average year of driving, covering about 15,000 kilometers in a 1500 * 2000cc petrol vehicle," Mr Turney says.

"The four tonnes have been absorbed over the course of a year by one hectare of regenerating native forest on marginal hill farmland recently taken out of agricultural production.

"As well as helping to restore native plant, insect and bird populations, these EBEX21® forests are compliant with the Kyoto Protocol. They are designed to help New Zealand meet the Protocol's objectives to reduce total fossil fuel use and emissions.

"Present technology does not always allow people to reduce fossil fuel use. We believe that regenerating native forest offers a win-win solution. It offsets unavoidable emissions and at the same time benefits New Zealand's biodiversity."

The six winning organisations were selected in a business card draw at the most recent Society of Local Government General Managers (SOLGM) and the Sustainable Business Network conferences.

They are:

Gisborne District Council

Manukau City Council

Morrison Low & Associates


Manawatu District Council

Recovered Materials Foundation

Mr Turney says the winners are extremely pleased with their prizes.

"One winner, Auckland's Unitec, has responded by sponsoring enough forest to offset their three shuttle buses operating on campus, which between them travel about 35,000 kilometres per year."

The CarbonZero* certificates are part of a suite of EBEX21® products and services designed to get government, businesses and the general public thinking about reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Last month EBEX21® launched its web-based Tourism CO2 Calculator, which works out how much CO2 tourists have created in travelling to and around New Zealand. A Kiwi Household CO2 calculator is being developed through a Royal Society teaching fellowship at Landcare Research.

The first CarbonZero* certificate will be awarded to the Gisborne Mayor, Mr Meng Foon, on Monday, May 26, at the Council Offices. Media are welcome to attend.

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