AUSTRALIA is stuck in the slow lane on transport pollution, as one of the only OECD countries in the world without greenhouse gas emission standards for vehicles, according to the latest Climate Council report.
The Climate Council’s ‘Waiting for the Green Light: Transport Solutions to Climate Change’ report shows that transport is Australia’s second largest source of greenhouse gas pollution, after electricity.
Climate Councillor and energy expert Greg Bourne said global transport pollution levels were on track to double by 2050, with Australia taking a backseat on transport efficiency, lagging behind Russia, Mexico and Indonesia.
“Australia is really moving in reverse when it comes to transport and taking effective action to drive down greenhouse gas pollution in the sector,” he said.
“Australians love their cars with almost 90% of us travelling to work in our own vehicles, compared to just 5% of the population accessing public transport. In fact, road based transport accounts for an even greater share of transport pollution in Australia than the global average, hitting around 85%.”
Bourne said congestion on Australian roads costs the economy more than $16 billion dollars each year, with demand set to continue to soar as city populations rise, highlighting an urgent push for clean, efficient and more accessible public transport infrastructure.
“Australia needs a national transport network that’s that’s clean, efficient, effective and sustainable. By getting people out of cars and onto electric buses, Australian cities would actually see a significant improvement in congestion, cost and transport greenhouse gas pollution,” he said.
KEY FINDINGS INCLUDE:
- Australia is one of a handful of OECD countries without greenhouse gas emissions standards for vehicles, and lacks credible national policy to tackle transport emissions.
- Australia’s transport related greenhouse gas pollution levels increased 3.4% in the year to December 2017.
- Australia’s transport sector is responsible for one hundred million tonnes of greenhouse pollution every year – our second highest polluter after electricity.
- Australian cities like Adelaide, Canberra and Melbourne are taking steps towards renewable powered public transport, such as Melbourne’s solar powered tram network.
- Global transport pollution levels are rising by around 2.5% each year. Without action they are expected to double by 2050.
- The transport sector contributes 14% of total global greenhouse gas pollution annually.
- Congestion in Australia costs the economy more than $16 billion per year.
- Nearly 87% of Australian commuters travel to work by car, compared to public transport (5%), walking (5%) and riding a bicycle (1%).
- Population growth in Australian cities is driving increased demand for public transport. Infrastructure Australia forecasts an 89% increase in demand for public transport between 2011 and 2031.
Climate Council Senior Climate and Energy Solutions Analyst Petra Stock said a strong and credible national policy including mandatory vehicle emission standards could help drive down rising transport pollution levels.
“Through introducing mandatory transport emissions standards next year, between 2020 and 2030, Australia could prevent around the same amount of greenhouse gas pollution that’s produced by New South Wales’ entire coal fleet throughout a whole year,” she said.
“In a bid to effectively tackle climate change, Australia needs to rapidly roll out a fleet of sustainable transport solutions such as high quality public transport, cycling and walking infrastructure as well as renewable powered vehicles in the form of electric bicycles, cars, trains, trams and buses.”
“It’s time for the Federal and State Governments to pick up the pace and switch gears turning its focus to a cleaner, more efficient and sustainable transport system to benefit all Australians.”
The Climate Council’s ‘Waiting for the Green Light: Transport Solutions to Climate Change’ report includes nine key recommendations, serving as a framework to aid Federal, State and Territory Governments to develop fossil free transport by 2050.
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