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What is claimed to be the world's first 'green' search engine that offsets carbon emissions with no cost to the user has launched in Australia and 14 countries around the world.

ecocho.com.au promises to generate "positive environmental gains by sponsoring the growth of up to two trees for every 1000 searches users make through popular technology, Yahoo and Google."

To use the service, users access Google or Yahoo! via www.ecocho.com.au . However they must make do with the default Google search page and cannot use a customised advanced search page, as this author invariably does.

Founder Tim Macdonald said: "In Australia alone we conduct close to 800 million Internet searches each month and if we could capture just one percent of that traffic, we would make a significant contribution towards lowering the impact of harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

"ecocho.com.au aims to reinvest 70 percent of the site's revenue in carbon-offset credits and as the site progresses, we'll begin to support similar carbon-offsetting schemes in other states and countries."

In Australia, ecocho will purchase carbon-offset credits through the NSW Government Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme (GGAS) and KPMG will check the acquisition, registration and retirement of the carbon credits.

ecocho.com is owned by Yield Media, a subsidiary of PR and advertising company, Photon Group.

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