A paper entitled “The Carbon Neutral Public Sector” by Amanda Ball and colleagues published in PAR (2009, 11:5) has this to say about public sector efforts to be carbon neutral:
This paper argues for research into the effectiveness of government strategies for a ‘carbon neutral public sector’. We review initiatives in three OECD countries: New Zealand, Australia and the UK. In all jurisdictions, government agencies have consistently stressed ‘leading by example’ as a rationale for adoption. ‘Direct mandate’ by the Prime Minister (NZ); ‘organic development’ from wider central government sustainability initiatives (UK); and a more ‘laissez faire’ approach by Australian Federal and State Governments, were identified as the general pathways leading to implementation. Our assessment indicates:
a lack of understanding of the implementation process for carbon neutrality;
a need to identify and critically examine the ‘offset threshold’ at which mitigation efforts cease and offsetting is adopted;
an absence of any evaluation of the ‘leading by example’ rationale;
a lack of inter-country comparisons;
a gap in understanding the relationship with economic and social aspects of sustainability;
and a need to evaluate the utility of core government departments as the focus of carbon accounting.
We urge colleagues to consider research in this area with a view to contributing to the interdisciplinary solutions which we believe are required.