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Tasmania Goes Carbon Negative in Australian First

Tassie skipped over carbon neutral and decided to go straight to carbon negative – making them one of the few in the world to achieve this feat. Here’s how they did it.

New research has found that Tasmania has reduced their carbon dioxide emissions so substantially that they have officially joined the league of carbon negative jurisdictions. Their secret?  Decreasing the amount of logging in native forests.   

Carbon negative vs carbon neutral.

While most of the world is busy striving for carbon neutral, trailblazers like Tasmania are soaring past this goal and on to carbon negative status. What this means is that these places are sequestering more carbon emissions than that which they produce.

It’s worth noting that a country or region can technically hold both carbon neutral and carbon negative status at the same time. This is because being carbon neutral simply means that they decreased their carbon emissions to the smallest amount they possibly can. If they then proceed to offset more carbon than they produce, they can be both carbon neutral and carbon negative.

While Tasmania is the only state in Australia to reach carbon negative status, there are a number of countries that have also reached this milestone.

  1. Bhutan: Going strong since becoming the first country to go carbon negative, Bhutan produces only 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, with their forests sequestering far more than that amount.
  2. Suriname: With its abundance of forest coverage, this small country is able to reduce its carbon emissions – which account for 0.01% of the world’s emissions – to the point of completely offsetting them.
  3. Panama: This tiny country implemented conservation and energy-saving measures to join the few countries that are leading the way for reducing carbon emissions.

Why it matters.

Carbon emissions are one of the biggest contributors to climate change and, when it comes to output of emissions per capita, Australia tops the list. This is nearly double that of China, according to the Cop26 climate summit last.

To make matters worse, the OECD revealed Australia ranked poorly in its use of renewable energy, along with finding we had the 2nd most unclean economy among other OECD countries. The main culprit is our production of coal, with Australia slated to be guilty for up to 17% of emissions by 2030. With a carbon footprint of around 5% – including exports – any reduction in emissions is a welcome improvement, but carbon negative status like Tasmania is the goal.

Our carbon output, which makes up 75% of emissions, has had an alarming effect on global warming – between 1990 and 2019, the effect from our emissions led to a warming of around 45%. Carbon emissions were responsible for 36% of this event. The level and concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have not been seen in the last 800, 000 years.

How you can reduce your carbon footprint.

We all have a carbon footprint, and even individuals are capable of being carbon neutral. That’s right – you can offset your own emissions by making a few simple changes. To start off with, you’ll need to know how much carbon dioxide your lifestyle is responsible for emitting, and an online calculator is one of the easiest ways to get an estimation – we recommend you try the Earthlab carbon calculator.

Once you have your results, you’ll be able to see the areas you can improve in. These may include energy use at home or work, your mode of transportation, shopping habits and how often you compost and recycle. As you make little changes in your life, you can check in with your online calculator to see how you’re tracking. There is another way you can offset your emissions, and that is by buying renewable energy credits, this is especially useful if you’re struggling to find other ways to further reduce your output.

Here are a few of the ways you can get started on your path to becoming carbon neutral:

  1. Opt for public transportation or walking in place of driving.
  2. Turn down the temperature a couple of degrees when using a heater.
  3. Use reusable items instead of single-use plastics.
  4. Cut down on unnecessary spending.
  5. Be sure to recycle and compost  any fruit and veggie scraps.

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