Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The dead to be "Carbon Neutral" in Australia

This article of interest (to me at least) for two reasons. First, who knew that graves were only leased for 50 years in Australia and are then reused unless the lease is renewed.

There has to be an (albeit rather morbid) economic paper in there somewhere on how the next generation values dead relatives. For example, are mothers graves or fathers graves more likely to be renewed after 50 years?

The second point of interest is that officials have quite rightly taken into account grave tending costs when working out the overall impact of cremation vrs burial with cremations, perhaps surprisingly, coming out as 10% greener than burials in the long run.

Australian Cemetery To Offer Carbon-Free Funerals [PlanetArk]

An Australian cemetery has unveiled plans to take the carbon out of cremations by offering new green funerals to help combat global warming.


While cremations initially produce more carbon emissions than a burial, cemetery chief executive Bryan Elliott said over time, burials ended up producing about 10 percent more greenhouse gas.

"If we plant one tree for every service, either burial or cremation, we will more than offset the carbon emissions," Elliott told Reuters on Tuesday.

The Centennial Park Cemetery carries out more than 900 burials and around 3,300 cremations a year. Elliott said every cremation created around 160 kg (353 pounds) of carbon dioxide, compared to 39 kg of carbon dioxide for each burial.

But when the cost of maintaining grave sites, mostly covered by lawns at Centennial Park, is taken into account, cremations came out 10 percent greener than burials.


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