Monday, April 28, 2008

In A Jam Over Food Miles

Ok, so most people probably know about food miles. The shorter the distance the food has to travel, the smaller the transport emissions. And i had a good laugh at the Brits when i heard they export 10,000 tonne of butter to Denmark - and then import 10,000 tonne of Danish butter back to the UK. "How proposterous!" I thought.

Then i bought my favourite jam (bargain price and a funky-shaped jar) and was happy with my purchase until i read the fine print.

I had falsely presumed that something made by Coles Australia, was made in Australia. Not so. Not even close.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I Love Brisbane

This evening i was going to write about food miles. You'll have to wait for that, because i was interrupted by a phone survey by Brisbane Council. It started fairly standard ... "How do you rate the council on a scale of 1-5?"

Then.. "i'd like to ask you about climate change". Now she had my full attention!! After some inane questions about lightbulbs etc, she asked what i thought council could do to reduce greenhouse emissions. Suffice to say, the entire call went for about an hour.

She also asked about the Greenheart Citysmart programme. "Has it helped you take positive actions?". I had to say no, because it's only suggesting things that i've already done. Changing bulbs is great but council needs to think bigger if it wants to meet the reduction targets.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Meat Feeds Climate Change

While "food miles" (the distance food travels to get to us) are important, for some foods it's also about how they are made.

Meat appears to be one of those foods. According to an article in New Scientist magazine, switching from red meat to veggies just one day per week would save greenhouse gases the equivalent of driving 1860 km. (And probably save some money too!)

The author of the study says that food miles, while important, are only part of the equation. Other things need to be considered, such as the transport of ingredients, the energy used in processing, etc.

If you're thinking that it's near-impossible to pick the most greenhouse friendly food, you're not alone. Several community groups are calling for carbon labelling of foods, informing the customer just how much greenhouse gas was produced in making the product.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Solar Incentive

On the 7.30 Report, Prof David Mills, says solar power can provide 90% of our electricity, if only governments provide some support. In the effort to reduce greenhouse emisisons, lots of money is being thrown at clean coal, which is not yet proven, while many believe there should be more support for solar - which is ready now.

In the report, it was mentioned that SA is the only state with a "feed-in" tariff (a bonus rate paid to people putting solar power into the grid). But don't despair Queenslanders, our state government has announced its own Solar Bonus Scheme, which will take effect this year.
[7.30 report article (video/text)]
[interview with energy minster (video/text)]

Saturday, April 12, 2008

$2 billion cars

Ok, so we've all heard about the strange subsidies that exist for companies to pollute the environment. But what are they? Well i saw the speech by Don Henry (ACF) the other day, an he outlined some of the things our tax dollars are subsidising.

Tax-breaks for company cars are estimated to reach a cost of $2 billion dollars by 2009-10. Great for CEO's and the like. Not so great for the planet. The strange thing is, the more kilometres they drive, the bigger the tax breaks get.

Another one is petrol tax. While the average car-driver pays 38 cents per litre in tax, big companies pay either 3 cents per litre (airlines) or 0 cents (mining companies). [Full speech]