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Developing a low/zero emission transport strategy for Australia

zero emission transport strategy

This project will assemble a group of Australian scientific experts to support the development of a Low and Zero Emission Transport Strategy for Australia, providing evidence-based guidance to local, state/territory and federal governments on how they can support transport decarbonisation in a timeframe congruent with global climate targets.

The decarbonisation of Australia’s transport system is critical for meeting global climate targets, while ensuring the nation remains competitive with its international partners. To inform the transition to low and zero emission transport, there is a need to policy action at the local, state/territory and federal levels of government.

Unfortunately, there is often confusion about what measures should be implemented by each of these levels of government to support this transition. To address this, the group assembled for this project will develop a national low and emission transport strategy, which will provide a clear outline to Australian governments as to how they can support this transition.

The expert group will engage with stakeholders to secure broad endorsement of the proposed strategy and will widely disseminate the final strategy to build public support for the policy measures that will be required to decarbonise Australia’s transport system in a timeline congruent with climate targets.

Participants

Project background

The transport sector currently accounts for approximately 19% of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The sector also has one of the fastest growth rates in emissions. In order to meet international climate targets, including limiting global warming to well below 1.5 degrees, it will be critical to significantly reduce emissions from transport before 2050.

Unfortunately, Australia’s current trajectory for future transport emissions is incongruent with these targets, and leaves the nation exposed to potential future climate tariffs, as well as more expensive transport stemming from the country’s relatively energy-inefficient vehicles.

Addressing this issue will require the implementation of supportive policies across local, state/territory and federal governments that align with global efforts to transition to a clean, efficient and low/zero emission transport sector.

While Australian governments have implemented some initiatives to support low/zero transport technologies, these efforts are below what will be required to support decarbonisation of transport by 2050. As such, there is an urgent need for expert advice on how all levels of government can support the decarbonisation of Australia’s transport system.

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This project will assemble a group of Australian scientific experts to support the development of a Low and Zero Emission Transport Strategy for Australia, providing evidence-based guidance to local, state/territory and federal governments on how they can support transport decarbonisation in a timeframe congruent with global climate targets.

The scope of this strategy will include land, marine and air transport. It will consider how to transition existing transport services, as well as the impact that new services (e.g. Mobility as a Service), technologies (e.g. connected and automated vehicles) and infrastructure (e.g. electric road systems) could have on this transition.

It is highly unlikely that a single low/zero emission powertrain will be suitable for implementation for every application, across all transport sectors. For this reason, the strategy will outline which powertrains as best suited to each application and outline a strategic view of how Australia can transition to a more efficient, lower cost and decarbonised transport system, that will likely include the deployment of battery-electric, biofuel, hydrogen, and other electrification technologies.

The final strategy will also attempt to outline national targets Australia should be aiming for in transitioning to low/zero emission fleets, with the gradual phase-out of recommended policies – including incentives – linked to achieving these targets. It will also consider broader issues, such as pathways for addressing falling road transport revenue due to improvements in fuel efficiency, energy sector co-benefits of new transport technologies, and other potential opportunities and challenges that may arise through this transition.

Finally, the strategy will deliver a clear vision – both written and graphically – of what a future, decarbonised transport system in Australia could look like, to help guide what Australian governments should be aiming to achieve. It will be disseminated publicly to help garner support to the policy measures that will be required to support a transition to low and zero emission transport.

In addition to reducing transport emissions, the policy measures recommended through this strategy will also aim to:

  • Increase Australia’s national security by reducing reliance on imported foreign fuel.
  • Supporting Australian energy jobs through the redirection of more than $30 billion in foreign fuel spending in locally-generated energy, and other products and services.
  • Reduced transport costs (where possible) through the transition to more energy efficient technologies.
  • Supporting Australian mining and manufacturing jobs by position the nation to support the global supply chain for low/zero emission transport technologies.
  • Improved public health by aiming to eliminate the estimated 2,000 premature deaths, and thousands more respiratory illnesses that occur each year in Australia due to motor vehicle pollution.
  • Supporting the uptake of renewable energy through transport vehicles acting as distributed energy resources.

Project objectives

The primary objectives of this project are:

  1. Outline a clear vision of what a future, decarbonised transport system could look like for Australia to government, industry and the general public.
  2. Set targets to guide policy in supporting a transition towards low and zero emission vehicles.
  3. Provide policy recommendations to local, state/territory and federal governments to inform how each level of government can support the decarbonisation of transport.
  4. Articulate how a transition to a decarbonised transport system can deliver significant economic benefits to Australia including the creation of jobs, reduction in costs, support for renewable energy adoption, and improved national security.
  5. Build public support for a decarbonised transport system, and the necessary policy initiatives to support this transition.
  6. Position iMOVE as a centre of knowledge for supporting the decarbonisation of Australia’s transport system while considering the potential future adoption of novel transport technologies, infrastructure, and services.

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