Waiting for the green light: transport solutions to climate change
Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are rising and are projected to continue increasing in the absence of credible and comprehensive climate and energy policy tackling all key sectors: electricity, transport, stationary energy, agriculture, fugitive emissions, industrial processes, waste and land use.
There has been considerable public discussion in Australia surrounding the need to transition the electricity sector away from polluting, ageing and inefficient coal and gas generation to clean, affordable and reliable renewable power and storage. There are now many policies and programs at the federal, state and local levels designed to drive greater uptake of renewable energy. While more still needs to be done to continue cutting greenhouse gas pollution levels in the electricity sector, there is an urgent need to start addressing pollution from other sectors, particularly transport, the nation’s next largest polluter.
Australia’s transport emissions or transport greenhouse gas pollution levels have been steadily rising and are projected to continue going up. Factors such as population growth have led to a higher number of cars on the road, while increased demand for freight is also driving up truck emissions. Domestic air travel continues to increase, leading to an increase in aviation emissions (Australian Government 2017).
Solutions are readily available to cut rising greenhouse gas pollution levels from the transport sector. These include introducing vehicle emissions standards, planning for and investing in infrastructure to enable more people to walk, cycle and use public transport, powering cars, buses and rail with renewable energy, along with increasing the uptake of electric vehicles. However, Australia needs federal, state and local policies and investment to set us on the right path to do so.