ANU: Australia needs to get motoring on clean transport strategy

Australia lacks a clear strategy for transitioning to clean transport options and must urgently adopt one, according to a team of 18 experts who’ve come together to outline the next steps.

Co-author of the Framework for an Australian Clean Transport Strategy (FACTS) Dr Bjorn Sturmberg from The Australian National University, says the lack of clear direction is slowing our adoption of clean technologies, such as electric cars and buses.

“We risk leaving our streets full of toxic exhausts and noise,” Dr Sturmberg from the ANU Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program said.

“FACTS provides steps that all levels of government and industry can take today to put Australia on a path to a clean and low-cost transport system.

“From looking overseas it’s clear a cleaner transport future involves taking less trips where possible and shifting to more shared modes of transport, as well as improving access to electric vehicles.

“State and local governments need to do their bit by improving public transport options and leading by example when it comes to things like remote work arrangements and transitioning fleets to electric vehicles.”

Dr Sturmberg said a strategy would also help deal with high petrol prices.

“Australia’s exposure to volatile oil imports is driving up the price we pay at the bowser and for our groceries and services,” he said.

“We need a clean transport strategy to help manage this as well.”

Australia’s transport sector is one of the most emission intensive sectors. Based on Australia’s current emission reduction targets, transport will represent more than 50 per cent of the country’s domestic emissions by 2030.

The FACTS authors say there is limited time to do something about this.

“By next year, 2023, our science-based target is that all state fleet vehicles and urban buses are zero emissions,” Dr Sturmberg said.

“By 2035, our targets are that 50 per cent of commuting trips use active or public transport, 100% of urban trucks are zero emissions and 20 per cent of domestic aviation is free from fossil fuels.”

Dr Jake Whitehead, Chair of FACTS, added: “While individual Australian governments have taken some steps forward on decarbonising transport, we have not yet seen the level of policy ambition that is required for our country to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.”

Dr Whitehead and the report’s authors say Australia is in the fortunate position of having “many options available to us on our journey to net zero transport”, but we must seize the moment.

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