Buy renewable electricity

Every time you use electricity in your home greenhouse gases are belched out on your behalf. So buy the clean stuff!

By purchasing 100 per cent Federal Government accredited GreenPower renewable electricity you are instantly switching your electricity dollar from a traditional coal-burning power plant to one of a combination of renewable sources of electricity generation (e.g. wind, hydro, biomass and solar) and stopping approximately 10 tonnes of CO2 / year (for an average home) from being released into the atmosphere.

How to do it now!

Energy generation creates about one-third of Australia's carbon emissions. and while you can now switch to and purchase 100 per cent renewable electricity (or a percentage), you can also select your energy retailer based on their performance in cleaning up their contribution to climate change.

So the following list of Green power electricity retailers is ordered with the Greenest at the top and dirtiest at the bottom. This ranking comes from The Green Electricity Guide, a collaboration between CHOICE, the Total Environment Centre (TEC), Greenpeace and the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

To switch, just call the number on your latest electricity bill (or form the table below) and tell them you want to switch to 100 per cent renewable electricity (or a percentage).

If you are in the mood for a change, here is the list (greenest at the top).

Electricity retailer - Phone No# - States available - Environmental score/ranking

* Retailers are scored on:

The carbon emissions intensity of the power stations some retailers own – 20%

Renewable energy policy position and new investments – 10%

Support for GreenPower – 20%

Offers to solar customers – 15%

Policy positions on and investment in fossil fuels (coal and coal seam gas) and burning native forests – 15%

Energy efficiency performance and promotion – 10%

Transparency in sustainability reporting – 10%

Source: The Green Electricity Guide Report.

Why is this action important?

Traditional sources of energy release large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere. This CO2 (and other greenhouse gases) is exceeding nature's ability to absorb (sequester) them, and as a result these gases are accumulating in the atmosphere and are causing the global atmosphere to heat up (global warming). The changing weather patterns that result are in turn putting stress on all other parts of the global ecosystem, systems already under stress from human activity. Effects of this include increasing species extinction, desertification, water shortages, and the direct effect of changing weather conditions and the melting of polar icecaps.

Environmental benefit

By switching to renewable energy, you remove the need for coal - and its many waste products - to be utilised to provide you with electrical power (approx 2.3 tonnes of CO2 in the atmosphere per person per annum). You will reduce your ecological footprint significantly and help to slow the effect of climate change.

Wellbeing benefit

Climate change resulting from greenhouse gas emissions is projected to adversely affect the health of millions of people throughout the world with increases in malnutrition, disease, injury and deaths from heatwaves, floods, storms, fires and droughts, increases in diarrhoeal disease, increased frequency of cardio-respiratory disease due to worsening air quality and altered distribution of some disease vectors.