Did you know transportation accounts for 18% of Australia's total carbon emissions?
Australia doesn't have a great track record with transport emissions - they are the third-highest source of greenhouse gases in Australia, with the highest rate of growth per year.
Rethinking how we get around is integral if we were going to significantly reduce our carbon emissions and achieve our Net Zero targets.
So why don't we just all drive electric cars?!
80% of the new vehicle sales markets around the world have carbon emissions standards - Australia does not. Electric vehicles in Australia account for less than 1% of new car sales - and expensive tariffs and low accessibility in the Australian vehicle market mean widespread adoption of battery-powered vehicles could still be a few years away.
So let's have a look more generally at some ways we can get around in a way that's less reliant on carbon output.
Public transport is a great way to get around. It's much more carbon-friendly than private vehicles - a full bus can take over 50 cars off the road, and a full train over 600. It's also a much more affordable alternative to owning a car, and you won't get the annual hip-pocket burn of rego, insurance, and servicing all in one hit (and don't even get me started on petrol!).
A great instance of combining public transport with the rising popularity of electric vehicles is in Gothenburg, Sweden. By introducing 145 electric buses and charging stations across the city (replacing around 35% of their existing bus fleet), they have been able to cut the monthly total of city-wide emissions by 10%. Imagine if we could introduce something similar in Australian cities!
Government incentives are another way to encourage more people to make the switch to more environmentally friendly forms of travel. In Europe, there are almost 300 different government tax-incentive or purchase premiums schemes to make bike-riding more attractive.
Switching from normal cars to electric cars is one thing, but emissions from bike travel are actually 10 times less than an electric vehicle trip! Really puts into perspective how incentivising bike travel could impact Australia's currently enormous levels of emissions from travel.
Last year, 14 out of 27 European countries had at least one national-level scheme to incentivise bicycle purchase and riding. The result? Much quicker commuting times to work, people saving over 4 billion euros on fuel, reduced mortality rates, and a reduction of over 16 million tons of CO2 emissions PER YEAR.
So why can't we adopt similar practises in Australia? We certainly have the weather for it!