University of Western Australia: Transport and energy experts develop emissions reduction strategy

Transport and energy scientists, engineers, planners, and economists have come together to inform the development of an emissions reduction strategy for Australia’s transport system.

The 18 experts, including Professor Thomas Braunl from The University of Western Australia’s School of Engineering, developed FACTS: a Framework for an Australian Clean Transport Strategy.

FACTS was formed to enable and boost cooperative action across Federal, State, Territory, and local governments in Australia, together with industry, to support the decarbonisation of the transport sector, and in turn, the uptake of low and zero emission transport technologies and strategies.

“FACTS is an Australia-wide initiative for clean transport, and UWA’s Renewable Energy Vehicle Project has been on the forefront of this for almost 15 years,” Professor Braunl said.

“While we have concentrated on the technological issues in REV, FACTS is now targeting politicians and industry decision makers for making policy changes towards renewable transport.”

Based on Australia’s current emission reduction targets, transport will represent more than 50 per cent of the country’s domestic emissions by 2030, with around a third of domestic emissions coming solely from cars and light commercial vehicles. FACTS recommends Australia aim to achieve net zero transport emissions by 2050.

“There is limited time to achieve significant emission reductions,” Professor Braunl said.

“Australia must set a clear vision for rapid transport sector decarbonisation and invest in the development of transformative technologies that will enable all countries to limit climate change impacts.”

Dr Jake Whitehead, Chair of FACTS, said some Australian governments had taken steps forward on decarbonising transport, but the level of policy ambition that is required to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 had not been seen.

“By joining our international trading partners in their transport decarbonisation efforts, and altering course towards a rapid emissions reduction trajectory, Australia will be able to capture the major job creation and economic development opportunities that the transition to a decarbonised transport sector can deliver,” Dr Whitehead said.

FACTS found transitioning the transport sector to cleaner alternatives is inevitable, given the economic, social, and environmental benefits that this transformation can deliver. However, shifts to meet climate targets must be accelerated which requires ambitious policy action and funding.

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