Switching to electric cars, vans and buses is the easiest route to cleaner transport, but Australia needs to get in the fast lane with a national plan, a report warns.

Australia is heading for failure on 2030 and 2050 emissions reduction commitments if it does not accelerate the transport transition, according to research released on Wednesday by the Australian National University.

The Framework for an Australian Clean Transport Strategy (FACTS) report found, on the current trajectory, transport will represent more than half of emissions by 2030.

Lead author Bjorn Sturmberg said electrifying ferries, trains and trucks will take longer than light vehicles, while around mid-century is a do-able target for cleaner shipping and aviation.

That means no new diesel or natural gas-fuelled buses by next year at the latest, and the immediate transition of state and federal government vehicle fleets.

Engines-off zones at schools, parks and hospitals are also recommended, as vehicle idling pumps out the emissions equivalent of driving more than 1.5 million cars.

Federal policy relies on technology whereas the report focuses on users to shape the recommendations for moving people, and goods and services.

Researchers found regional and rural communities need more infrastructure and finance so they don’t get penalised for the barriers they face.

“We’re not all inner-city wealthy individuals who are just going to buy a Tesla,” Dr Sturmberg said.

“We need a comprehensive strategy for the country so that we can take into account those differences and roll out the right technology and solutions.”

State governments are introducing rebates and new charges, in the absence of a national plan, and this “fragmented” approach is not helpful, he said.

In line with other states, Western Australia’s state budget on Thursday will introduce a road-user charge for zero and low emission light vehicles but it will be deferred until 2027 similar to NSW’s new tax.

A national strategy could also help manage the impact of high petrol and diesel prices.

The team of 18 experts advises Australia should phase out fossil fuel-powered cars and target 100 per cent zero emission light-vehicle sales by 2035.

The researchers want a federal commitment to net zero emissions from land transport by 2045 at the latest, which will require more renewable energy generation.

Extracted in full from: Emissions ‘failure’ without transport plan | Jimboomba Times | Jimboomba, QLD

 

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