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Climate Council calls for better travel options to halve transport emissions by 2030

The Climate Council has listed main ways to halve Australia’s transport emissions by the end of the decade, with a huge freight shift at the top of the list

The Climate Council has unveiled a new plan to electrify the nation and cut climate pollution by 75 per cent this decade – and it all boils down to the transport sector.

Following the recent announcement of Australia’s New Vehicle Efficiency Standard, Climate Council’s latest Seize the Decade report is calling on Australia to slash transport pollution faster.

It suggests the encouragement of using shared and active transport, such as walking, riding, electrified public transport and rideshare.

A main pillar is around the freight system, with the Climate Council calling for a shift of one-third of road freight to rail by 2030 alongside the electrification of heavy road vehicles to address gaps in infrastructure and incentivise the uptake of clean technologies.

The Climate Council says transport is Australia’s fastest-growing source of climate pollution, contributing more than 22 per cent to the national total.

To halve transport emissions, the Climate Council wants to improve the reliability and availability of shared and active transport while electrifying the nation’s shared flees so that one-third of all passenger kilometres are travelled by electric vehicles by 2030.

Climate Council head of policy and advocacy Dr Jennifer Rayner says Australia needs to support and enable more clean ways of moving around.

“Australians who live in our cities should have the choice to leave the car at home because they have access to great shared and active transport options,” Rayner says.

“Walking, riding, using electrified public transport and other shared options more often can see us make huge and rapid cuts to climate and air pollution this decade. It’s also great for cutting congestion and travel costs, while making our streets safer and more enjoyable to spend time on.”

Climate Councillor and public health physician Dr Kate Charlesworth says the health impacts of poor air quality caused by vehicle pollution is also having an impact on Australians’ health.

“Particulate pollution from cars is associated with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and linked to more than 11,000 premature deaths in Australia every year. By slashing climate pollution and cleaning up the way we move, we will also make it easier for Aussies to live healthier, safer lives,” Charlesworth says.

“Governments can seize the opportunity to slash climate pollution from transport further and faster this decade than electric vehicles alone can. For the sake of our kids, our health and our climate, it’s time to give Australians in our cities more choice of clean and healthy ways to get around.”

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