Melbourne Games goes for gold with carbon neutrality

Millions of trees planted to offset greenhouse gas emissions caused by games

The Commonwealth Games, which opened in Melbourne last week, has achieved its goal of being the first carbon-neutral games through planting more than a million trees. Plantings covering 450ha are part of the government’s commitment to offset the games’ estimated 110,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. The games have been able to call on lessons learned from the “greenest ever” Olympics in 2000, hosted in Sydney. The landscaping efforts were clearly visible with Darling Harbour, Olympic Park, the airport, new motorways and public spaces enjoying makeovers. The Australian government spent £4m on 100,000 trees for the venues. London can also learn from Sydney’s preparations. Sydney horticulturist Darren Mason’s nursery provided more than 7,000 native trees, between 1m and 11m tall. He said some planting requests were made at the last minute, putting the nursery under pressure. Better long-term planning could have prevented that, Mason said. The benefits of the landscaping were apparent, with the UK-based Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors declaring Homebush Bay the world’s most significant rehabilitation project. Environmental design firm EDAW (Aust) developed the Olympic Village, which included 297,760 plants. Volunteers planted two million trees around Australia for the Olympic Landcare project.

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