Australia doesn’t have a clear strategy for decarbonizing transport. That’s a problem, because without a plan, our take-up of clean technologies like electric cars, trucks and buses is slow. It’s stopping us from meeting our climate commitments. It means we are paying exorbitant prices at the pump for imported oil, as well as the cost of groceries or services.
The good news is? This is the good news: 18 experts in transport and energy have created this over the past year. Independent, scientific-based summaryIt is possible to clean up land, sea, and air transport now as well as in the future.
Our plan provides priority policies for all levels in the Australian government. These policies, when combined, would allow Australia to have a net zero transport system by 2050. Australia will also see major economic, socio-environmental benefits from this transition.
The pandemic is a good example of how experts and governments can come together to face wicked challenges. We can do it here. To develop the science-based, net zero transport strategy Australia desperately needs, we can draw on the expertise of engineers, planners, economists, and transport experts.
Why we must reduce our transport emissions as quickly as possible
Most of our transportation today is powered by fossil fuels. That makes it one of Australia’s most emission intensive sectors. Worse, forecasts show that transport emissions will continue to rise. Until at least 2030During the most critical decade of the fight to slow climate changes.
By 2030, transport emissions could grow to a quarter of the country’s domestic emissions. Australia is a highly polluting, inefficient country. Vehicle fleet90% reliant upon Imported fuel. These two factors have resulted in many Australians being hard hit. Unprecedented fuel prices.
Shifting to clean transport is a win-win-win – we can slash emissions, cut costs to commuters and boost Australia’s fuel security in a very uncertain geopolitical time.
How can Australia reduce its transport emissions?
To make this shift we need a clear vision for rapid decarbonisation. This framework consists of three steps:
Avoid: Avoid transport trips whenever possible and reduce travel distances, such as by working from home.
Shift: For the majority of trips that cannot be avoided, shift as many as you can to more efficient transport modes like e-bikes and public transport.
improve: boost Australia’s transport energy efficiency by adopting low and zero emission vehicles, such as electric cars, electric buses and electric trucks.
To accelerate the transition, we need to invest in transformative technologies, such electric vehicles for land transport and electric, hydrocarbon, ammonia and sustainable biofuel options for shipping or aviation.
This approach is in line with the world’s current best practice. According to the global peak body for clean transportation, electrification is the key to transport sustainability. single most important technologyTo decarbonise the sector.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report, electric vehicles have the greatest potential to decarbonize land transport. Lifecycle Basis. The most difficult challenge will be to find ways to make shipping, and planes run on fossil fuels. To do this, we’ll need to invest in finding the solutions.
As if saving the world from the worst of climate change isn’t enough, the economics have shifted enormously. Australia’s rapid transition to clean transport is not a long-term expense. We could be savedNearly half a trillion Australian dollars could be saved by 2035. By removing deadly pollutants from the atmosphere, we can save almost $300 billion. Australians could also make around $800 billion in savings $2,000Every year, electric cars save more money on fuel and maintenance. If all cars in Australia were electrified, it would mean more than $30 Billion annually in savings.
It may not surprise you that Australia is far behind the rest of world in this transition. For example, we’re one of the few countries without mandatory fuel efficiency standardsWe have a very inefficient and dirty vehicle fleet.
To date, neither the Coalition or Labor’s current policies go far enough to achieve net zero transport emissions. Our next government should commit to a bold policy to support rapid decarbonisation.
Where do we go from here? The road map to net zero transportation by 2050
We need evidence-based strategy to achieve net zero for land transport in 2045 and all transport in 2050.
Given we’re almost starting from scratch, we can only make this shift through ambitious transport policies. These would include:
- Each transport sector should have clear targets to reach net zero transport by 2050 or earlier.
- New financial incentives are available to households and businesses that switch to zero emission transportation.
- To stimulate innovation and increase zero emission vehicles, there are new sales mandates as well as fuel efficiency targets.
- Investing in clean transport manufacturing and recycling to allow us build batteries, produce renewable fuels, and build electric cars locally by 2030
- Infrastructure and policies that support active transport, low emission zones, and road pricing reform.
To tackle the harder-to-decarbonise sectors of shipping and aviation, we need:
- Research, development and investment in low- and zero-emission options, along with mandates for zero emission fuels, are all encouraged
- Clusters of renewable hydrogen to support the wider economy decarbonisation, low and zero-emission shipping and aviation.
We have many resources available to help us create a better system. We have a Natural resource baseWe will be able to support clean transport both locally and globally. We will be able access huge amounts of cheap, renewable energyWe can harness this energy to power our own zero emission vehicles, as well as turn water into hydrogen and make batteries.
It’s possible. But time is precious. We must act now to seize this opportunity to clean up our transport sector, while also securing new jobs, improving national security, and cleaning the air we breathe.