Carbon offsetting by Queensland councils: motives and benefits

Zeppel, Heather (2013) Carbon offsetting by Queensland councils: motives and benefits. In: 3rd National Local Government Researchers' Forum (ACELG 2013), 6-7 Jun 2013, Adelaide, Australia.

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Carbon offsetting provides one avenue for local councils to mitigate their greenhouse gas emissions. This includes voluntary offsetting of council events or activities and purchasing carbon credits to offset emissions from transport, or landfill sites exceeding 25,000tCO2-e. Offsets are 'An investment in a project that reduces greenhouse gas emissions or sequesters carbon from the atmosphere' to compensate for emissions from other activities (LGAQ, 2009: 58). Under the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011, local councils can also earn carbon credits through managing landfill emissions, or environmental plantings. This paper evaluates carbon offsetting actions and motives by Queensland councils from a 2012 quantitative and qualitative survey sent to all 73 councils. Some 32 councils completed the survey with a response rate of 51% (excluding Aboriginal shires). Seventeen Queensland councils stated offsetting was not necessary nor a priority, due to their small size, or were unsure about offset guidelines. However, five city councils and two coastal regional councils were partially offsetting emissions mainly from vehicle fuel and electricity, or community events. Councils with a climate change strategy, aiming to be carbon neutral (i.e. Cairns, Gold Coast, Redland, Sunshine Coast), were most likely to offset. The preferred offset action by councils was tree planting on council land or in partnership with conservation groups or offset companies (Ecofund Queensland, Greening Australia, & Greenfleet). Four councils wanted to sell/earn carbon credits, or support local landholders. The key motives for carbon offsetting included: council concern about climate impacts; supporting conservation; being climate friendly; and financially supporting offset projects. Councils preferred carbon offset methods such as tree planting or renewable energy with tangible environmental and financial benefits.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: This publication is copyright. It may be reproduced in whole or in part for the purposes of study, research, or review, but is subject to the inclusion of an acknowledgment of the source. Open access journal.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - USQ Other
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - USQ Other
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2013 06:15
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2017 00:11
Uncontrolled Keywords: climate change mitigation; carbon offsetting; local government; Queensland
Fields of Research (2008): 16 Studies in Human Society > 1604 Human Geography > 160404 Urban and Regional Studies (excl. Planning)
16 Studies in Human Society > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160507 Environment Policy
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management
Fields of Research (2020): 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4406 Human geography > 440699 Human geography not elsewhere classified
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4407 Policy and administration > 440704 Environment policy
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960302 Climate Change Mitigation Strategies
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960799 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards not elsewhere classified

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