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British Govt plays catch-up to public on carb -

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TONY JONES: While the British Government's legislation is still to be passed into law, individuals
in the United Kingdom have already begun looking at ways to reduce the size of their carbon
footprints. Europe correspondent Jane Hutcheon reports.

JANE HUTCHEON, EUROPE CORRESPONDENT: Britain is in the throws of a revolution. It's a campaign to
save the planet, use less full, travel fewer miles and reduce the carbon footprint.

JOHN BUCKLEY, CARBON CONSULTANT: We are beyond arguing about whether climate change is happening or
not. It is happening. The reality of it is it's happening because of each of our actions that we do
everyday.

JANE HUTCHEON: John Buckley is one of a new breed of carbon counsellors.

JOHN BUCKLEY: A typical light bulb will take about 100 watts and if you put in a typical energy
saving light, which is about 20 watts, you can save, obviously, 80 watts of power.

JANE HUTCHEON: At $250 a household, or a few thousand dollars for companies, his business is
booming. He gives tips aimed at reducing household carbon emission. Everything counts, down to the
wine in the fridge.

JOHN BUCKLEY: That's reasonably heavy and you can imagine all of the bottles of wine that are
shipped in from Chile or Australia to the UK. That's a long way, and there's a lot of wine that
comes here. So by buying it, we are putting a demand on the system, so they will keep shipping it
in.

JANE HUTCHEON: Any number of websites can calculate the size of a footprint. As I travel a lot by
plane, I'm the equivalent of a carbon big foot.

What's this bit? "You can offset your carbon footprint through specialist carbon offset programmes
by planting 27 trees."

If carbon footprints are the latest fixation, "offsetting" is the new buzz word, and offsetting
schemes are multiplying.

JOHN BUCKLEY: What we do is we send a tree order, if you like, to those guys, who then plant trees
in the Great River Valley, into sort of and a protected area there, to do reforestation.

JANE HUTCHEON: Trees, because of their carbon absorbing capacity, make popular offset schemes. The
UK's $150 million offset market is growing.

RU HARTWELL, TREEFLIGHTS.COM: Yeah, these are our latest customers here, basically, the customers
we've had over the last few months.

JANE HUTCHONE: For $25, Ru Hartwell of treeflights.com will plant a tree for every flight so that
your trip gets greener, according to the website.

RU HARTWELL: Trees take a long time to grow. There is no escaping it. It's going to take 80 to 100
years before these trees really do their work of absorbing the carbon dioxide.

JANE HUTCHEON: The latest research says while tropical forests can help the planet because they
trap heat near the ground, planting trees in Europe has virtually no climatic benefit. Leading
environmentalists believe offsets can be counterproductive.

TONY JUPITER, FRIENDS OF THE EARTH: Some of the very best schemes can make a minor difference, but
they have to be seen as the last resort, after you've done the energy efficiency, the energy-use
avoidance and gone for renewables. Offsetting has to be the last thing you do, not the first thing
to carry on with what you've always done. That's the problem we've got at the moment.

JANE HUTCHEON: Ru Hartwell of Treeflights believes every effort should be welcomed.

RU HARTWELL: There is always going to be disagreement about this. After all, we are talking about
how to save the planet. People have very strongly held views about this. For me, planting trees is
the way to go for me. If someone disagrees with that, that's fine by me.

JANE HUTCHEON: But as Britain's battle for carbon neutrality wages on, some believe it is getting
out of hand.

AUSTIN WILLIAMS, COMMENTATOR: I want to see more people fly, I want to see more people socialise, I
want to see the world become a little bit more harmonious and universal in its aspiration. What we
have now is the idea that we should all stay at home, plant a tree in our backyard and look no
further than the parochial boundaries. That's a tragic vision for the future.

JANE HUTCHEON: But such views are rare. A recent poll says almost half of Britain believes global
warming is a bigger threat than poverty or terrorism. And that suggests the footprint fixation
isn't going out of fashion.

TONY JONES: I suppose we could all just stop breathing.