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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

1 August 2002

Electricity Product Certified Greenhouse Friendly


The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp today announced that a new AGL electricity product has been certified Greenhouse Friendly.

“I am delighted that AGL’s product is the third to pass the comprehensive assessment for Greenhouse Friendly certification, joining BP ‘Ultimate’ premium unleaded fuel and BP’s range of commercial fuels sold under its Global Choice label,” Dr Kemp said.

Greenhouse Friendly is a market-based initiative that seeks to empower consumers to choose products with fewer greenhouse impacts and that seeks to increase corporate investment in greenhouse gas abatement. Businesses are encouraged to invest in greenhouse abatement as an offset for the emissions created by their products and services.

To qualify for Greenhouse Friendly certification from the Australian Greenhouse Office, all greenhouse emissions produced throughout the life-cycle of a product or service need to be offset by investment in corresponding greenhouse abatement.

“The greenhouse emissions associated with the AGL electricity are being offset through landfill gas flaring projects located at Whittlesea in Victoria and Gosnells in Western Australia. The projects should result in up to 90,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas abatement each year,” Dr Kemp said.

Colonial First State Properties, on behalf of the Commonwealth Bank, is the first purchaser of the new AGL electricity product and has committed to buy 87,000 megawatt hours of the electricity over a 3 year period. This is enough to fully offset the electricity emissions from a portfolio of NSW properties, including the Commonwealth Bank’s Head Office at 48 Martin Place in Sydney.

AGL is working to increase its range of abatement projects so that it can offer its Greenhouse Friendly certified electricity to households and many more commercial customers.

“AGL is to be congratulated for its leadership in reducing the impact its electricity products have on Australia’s net emission levels. While many companies have already contributed to reductions in greenhouse emissions, I hope that many more will join AGL and BP by going this extra step in funding additional abatement efforts,” Dr Kemp said.

“By allowing emitters access to low cost abatement opportunities, the Greenhouse Friendly program can encourage industry to play a key role in a cost-effective national greenhouse response.

“Consumers can be confident that when they buy products and services displaying the Greenhouse Friendly logo, they are not adding to global warming.

The Greenhouse Friendly standards ensure that the emissions produced through their purchase have been balanced by greenhouse reductions in other areas,” said Dr Kemp.

The Greenhouse Friendly program is administered by the Australian Greenhouse Office, the Commonwealth’s lead agency on greenhouse matters. For further information on the Howard Government’s programs to combat climate change please visit the Australian Greenhouse Office website at: www.greenhouse.gov.au

A copy of the Ministers speech at the Environment Institute of Australia National Conference, where this announcement was made, will be available shortly at: http://www.ea.gov.au/minister/env/2002/index.html

Media contact:
Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400


FACT SHEET

THE GREENHOUSE FRIENDLY PROGRAM

The Greenhouse Friendly Program is a voluntary initiative that aims to encourage greater private sector investment in greenhouse gas abatement that goes beyond ‘business-as-usual’ actions.

The program is also designed to engage consumers on climate change issues and greenhouse gas abatement and give consumers the confidence to make an informed choice.

BP ‘Ultimate’ fuel was the first product to achieve Greenhouse Friendly certification in November 2001. On 5 June 2002, BP also gained certification for its Global Choice Commercial Fuel product range, which includes BP Ultimate 98™ Premium Unleaded Petrol, BP Regular Unleaded Petrol, BP Automotive Diesel and BP low sulphur diesel. Currently, Greenhouse Friendly Global Choice products, apart from BP Ultimate 98™ fuel, are available to commercial consumers only.

Based on projections for the current range of products certified, the Greenhouse Friendly Program is expected to reduce greenhouse emissions by around 1.5 million tonnes over the next 5 years.

Certification is awarded for products or services whose associated greenhouse emissions are fully offset through investment in an equivalent amount of greenhouse gas reduction. (A life-cycle analysis is used to estimate the full greenhouse implication of a product or service. This means that all emissions from the certified product or service are captured from production and transport through to its use and eventual disposal.)

The program is open to all types of projects for offsetting greenhouse emissions including planting trees, use and capture of landfill methane for flaring or any other energy efficiency projects. The projects can be sourced from anywhere in Australia, including from within participating companies themselves. Only projects that result in emission reductions that go beyond “business-as-usual” are acceptable to the program. Each project goes through a rigorous assessment and independent verification process before it is accepted as an offset.

AGL was the third product to receive Greenhouse Friendly certification. The greenhouse emissions associated with the AGL electricity are being offset through landfill gas flaring projects located in Whittlesea in Victoria and Gosnells in Western Australia.

Greenhouse gas emissions, mostly methane and carbon dioxide, results from the breakdown of the organic waste material in the landfill. The gas at Whittlesea and Gosnells is captured using a series of wells drilled into the waste material connected by underground pipes. The landfill gas extracted is burnt or flared to convert the methane to carbon dioxide, which is a more benign greenhouse gas. Methane has 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Collecting and burning landfill gas also reduces the local impact of odour and the risk of fire and explosion.

The Greenhouse Friendly Program provides a valuable complement to other initiatives run by the AGO, such as the Greenhouse Challenge, which promotes in-house energy efficiency improvements and abatement efforts by its members.

Commonwealth of Australia