CO2 Offsets - Minimising Election Campaign Emissions

What about CO2 offsets? Election campaigns do not just cause a lot of metaphorical hot air. They actually contribute to global warming – regardless of any candidate's climate change policies. Consider the last Australian election campaign over at least six weeks in 2007. Now former Prime Minister John Howard and new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd visited electorates all over the place in this huge country that takes up an entire continent.

Several flights a day, plus much on-road driving over that time.

25,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas per election!

Regardless of their environmental policies that campaign travel alone was responsible for at least 25,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. That's roughly the same as driving a car for five years! So says Joel Fleming of Climate Friendly.

What are CO2 offsets?

Carbon offsetting is paying for other activities that soak up the CO2 that you produce, such as tree planting. A nice idea but one must consider that these trees will not be major carbon sinks until they've grown to about 20-50 years of age or so, depending on the species.

As always, the best global warming strategies involve reducing demand, re-using and recycling. By themselves carbon offset policies are a useful but inadequate response.

Interestingly, the minor parties, Greens and Democrats used carbon-offsets to reduce their footprint from election campaign travel. The two major parties, Labor and Liberal did not - this time.

I bet by the next federal election, and in every future State this will be an election issue in itself!

As the Australian candidates try to outdo each other in renewable energy policies, who among the major parties have what it takes in global warming stakes?

Gore-Rudd Axis?

Well, Al Gore has suggested it's Kevin Rudd, the then Leader of the Australian Opposition, now Prime Minister whose very first act of government was to ratify the Kyoto Treaty , hours after being sworn in.


He said: "If I were a citizen of Australia and cared deeply about the climate crisis I would pay very careful attention to the fact that there is a clear and stark difference in the positions of the two candidates. One supports ratification of the world treaty to solve the climate crisis and the other opposes it. That would weigh very heavily on my vote."

So... Kevin Rudd measures up so far on that score!

A future Gore-Rudd Axis to save the world?
Of course if you want to know what else to do besides CO2 offsets, go here

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