A new report from ClimateWorks Australia has found that rapid reduction in transport emissions is possible with the solutions already known and poised for widespread implementation this decade. But more actions are needed for Australia’s transport sector to cut emissions to meet global goals. 

The Moving to Zero report presents the first comprehensive guide to Australia’s transition to zero emissions across the whole transport system. It finds that the co-benefits of zero-emissions transport solutions are well-established globally, and zero-emissions transport options can play an important role in post-pandemic economic stimulus, boosting local manufacturing, creating jobs and improving the liveability of cities and communities.

“Shifting gears towards zero-emissions transport can create jobs and investment, support local manufacturing, improve access to employment and reduce air pollution and noise,” ClimateWorks Cities and Policy Program Manager, Petra Stock, said.

It comes as ClimateWorks and the Monash Sustainable Development Institute release the latest net zero momentum tracker report, which assesses the climate commitments of 32 Australian transportation companies.

The report finds one company has set a net zero emissions target closely aligned to the Paris agreement goals, while twenty-two are taking some steps to reduce emissions and nine have not disclosed any emissions reduction activities.

While the current COVID-19 crisis has significantly impacted transport companies – the latest emissions data show a dramatic drop in emissions in this sector due the pandemic shutdown – the broader trends are expected to see emissions rise again when economies reopen. However, the current disruption in the transport sector associated with the pandemic could present an unexpected opportunity for Australian transportation companies to assess their business strategies, in line with Australia’s state and territory net zero commitments, and those of global peers.

“COVID-19 has shown us that organisations and individuals are capable of rapidly shifting transport behaviours and needs. Shopping locally and reducing the need to travel interstate for meetings, for example, can save money and time, all while reducing emissions,” Ms Stock said.

Moving to Zero distils an analysis of over 300 reports, research papers, news articles and policy documents, collated by ClimateWorks Australia over nine months, into twelve recommendations for the transport sector to move towards zero emissions. 

These recommendations will be familiar to the transport sector, with the review affirming that known and established opportunities can shift Australia towards zero-emissions transport.

“The transport sector knows what’s needed to accelerate Australia’s transition to zero-emissions transport systems, with many solutions ready to roll out today. Widespread, rapid adoption of well-established strategies and demonstrated technologies can achieve much of what is needed this decade,” Michael Li, Moving to Zero report author and Senior Project Manager said.

The report finds that zero-emissions transport solutions are available, and globally many are already being implemented at scale. Policy, infrastructure and market measures can drive more widespread adoption of zero-emissions transport options in Australia.

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