Tuesday 20 January 2009

Carbon Neutral

The clip is from our local paper. Assen has planned for some time to become carbon neutral, and progress towards this aim continues. The first paragraph reads "Assen most remain an attractive city for future generations. By 2020 the government will be carbon neutral. CO2 output will be taken care of by a forest in the city and in Indonesia."

Now I have to say I've always been somewhat skeptical of the benefits of planting trees to absorb carbon dioxide. The problem is that there is only so much that one can do. Whatever way you look at it, we can never return to the state that we used to be in, when there were more trees on the earth and the fossil fuels were still locked up underground.

However, there are some very good policies which form some of the rules which the goverment will be adhering to:
  1. Stimulation of more use of bicycles (already used for nearly 40% of all journeys) and public transport, not only by the government but also by city residents.
  2. Five hectares (twelve acres) of woods are being planted this year in the city and the city will also support the Borneo Orangutan Survival organisation in providing woods which double up to absorb CO2.
  3. Vehicles are being converted for natural gas and biofuel (I'm also less sure of the benefits of these)
  4. The government uses electricity 100% from renewable sources, and is looking into "green" gas supply.
Many traffic lights in the city are already LED devices. What isn't mentioned in this article is an attempt to reduce energy consumption by converting street lights to use LEDs. I covered this before on my other blog.

If you are interested in this subject you may also be interested in the considerable effort put into recycling.