Environmental lobby group ClimateWorks has called on the government to bring in a stricter emissions standard on all vehicles by 2020, two years earlier than originally planned.
The government is proposing to bring in such an initiative by 2022, after an earlier voluntary scheme was scrapped several years ago.
It is thought that the moves to tighten up emissions standards would have the potential to save motorists billions of dollars in road costs, while also cutting Australia’s overall carbon pollution output.
Speaking to Geraldine Doogue on ABC Radio National Breakfast this morning, ClimateWorks Australia’s Head of Implementation, Scott Ferraro believes it is time that Australia adopted a formal emissions standard.
“Australia is one of the only remaining developed countries in the world that doesn’t have any CO2 emissions standards in place at the moment,” he said.
“A standard can provide significant emission reductions for Australia. They can deliver up to 6% of our 2030 target, all while providing cost savings to consumers.”
Submissions to the government’s review of the proposed new light vehicle emissions standard close today, with groups encouraged to provide feedback on the proposals.
Ferraro strongly believes that a compulsory standard would work for the current Australian fleet market, with consumers expected to save around A$500 per year on average.
“We seen in the past that when we had a voluntary target in place that it wasn’t effective.
“Australia’s new light vehicle fleet has improved by about 20% in the last 10 years, but that has stalled recently with only 1% of improvement in vehicle fuel efficiency,” he said.
From a consumer point of view, the government’s own cost benefit analysis has forecast that 65 megatonnes of savings could be achieved by 2030, while A$13.9 billion could ultimately be saved by 2040.
“This standard will help bring Australia up to speed with what has been targeted in the US and overseas,” Ferraro said.
“It is by no means a world leading standard, but it is about bringing us up to the rest of the pack.”
It is hoped that the changes would encourage the uptake of Electric Vehicles (EV) within Australia in coming years. Sales of EV models within Australia have been trending downwards the last couple of years, bucking the trend of what is being seen around the rest of the world.
“EV sales in Australia are really low compared to what is happening globally, and that is because we have no policy framework to support this,” Ferraro said.
“What we see in leading markets is policy support to help enable EV’s into the market, which provides benefits from a emissions and health perspective, as well as from a cost perspective.”
More info regarding the government’s plans on an emissions standard can be found at the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development website.
You can listen to the podcast of the original interview here.