Australians will need to cut their car trips by more than half if the country endeavours to meet its climate obligations.
In a report by the Climate Council of Australia on Monday, it states transport contributes to 19 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions – a figure that will drastically need to drop to reach net zero emissions.
Eighty-one per cent of trips are made in private vehicles, but this needs to drop to 36 per cent by the end of the decade, the Climate Council says.
The fourth of the five key recommendations from the report suggests “significant investment in electrified public transport and well-connected infrastructure for active modes like walking and cycling” will need to be made to see effective changes.
All public transport will need to be electrified by 2035, but ideally by the end of the decade, and trips that still need to be made by car will need strong fuel efficiency standards to encourage further uptake of electric vehicles, the report says.
Transport pricing, including road charges to disincentivise car travel and measures to make public and shared transport affordable will also need to be considered.
“If we are to reduce emissions from personal transport really deeply this decade, we need to flip how our transport system works from one that is about moving around cars to one that really prioritises moving around people,” Climate Council head of advocacy Jennifer Rayner said.
The report says Australia’s transport system is “highly polluting by global standards” and not only is it detrimental to the climate but is causing an excessive amount of road deaths (1,100 recorded in 2021 due to road crashes) and “potentially thousands more in premature deaths from air pollution”.
To combat this, the Climate Council suggests prioritising people, rather than cars, on the road which it believes would double the amount of people which can be moved.
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