[News] Brisbane City Council pays $6m to claim carbon-neutral status

The carbon-offset details are contained in the council’s annual report.

In 2021-22 it bought 42,000 MWh of renewable energy and 403,595 carbon offsets, to negate carbon emissions from business operations in 2021-22.

The council is judged against the federal government’s Carbon Neutral Standard for Organisations, the renamed National Carbon Offset Standard.

The council says its three largest carbon emitters were fuel use, landfill and construction.

These three comprise 62 per cent of the total carbon footprint.

“The remaining 38 per cent is made up of emissions from indirect supply chain sources, such as paper use, business travel and energy use by council contractors and lessees,” the council said.

How Brisbane City Council is reducing its carbon emissions and its carbon offset bill

  • Lighting upgrades in 25,000 streetlights since 2016-17 save 2255 tonnes each year.
  • Solar panels on council buildings generate 3600 MH each year, equivalent to 660 homes power.
  • The panels save 1.3 tonnes of carbon for every kilowatt of solar energy produced.
  • The all-electric Brisbane Metro to save 50,000 tonnes of emissions over 20 years.
  • It has shifted its 500-bus fleet from petrol to natural gas to diesel and four electric battery buses.
  • Increasing electric and hybrid vehicles in council’s 1300 car and truck fleet. By the end of 2022 it plans to have 30 full electric vehicles and 55 petrol/electric hybrid vehicles.
  •  More than 450,000 tonnes of carbon avoided through landfill  methane gas capture.

“Council buildings and facilities and controlled streetlights were 100 per cent powered by renewable energy in 2020-21, reducing electricity-related emissions to zero.”

The council says it offsets all its carbon emissions upfront and in other areas takes cumulative steps to steadily reduce its carbon footprint.

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Those other steps saved 54,818 tonnes of its own emissions, based on 2020 figures.

“From 2016-17, Council has offset all of its carbon emissions to ensure it maintains a net-zero carbon footprint, bringing total emissions offset to more than 3.9 million tonnes of carbon, [or carbon equivalent] emissions.”

Schrinner gave COP27 delegates examples where Brisbane City Council said it would further reduce carbon emissions at home.

These included the “green bridges” programs, the bushland acquisition scheme, and a program to encourage architect and developers to fund energy-efficient buildings.

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