Australia’s transport sector emissions are rising and are expected to continue to increase without credible and comprehensive climate and energy policy including support for zero-emission vehicles, according to a new report released by the Climate Council today.

With the transport sector representing Australia’s second highest source of greenhouse gas emissions (after electricity), the report Waiting for the Green Light: Transport Solutions to Climate Change urges that to tackle climate change, Australia must rapidly roll out a fleet of sustainable transport solutions.

As the industry advocate for zero-emission hydrogen (H2) fuel cell transport, Hydrogen Mobility Australia (HMA) welcomes the findings of the report and its recommendations to governments, including the development of a clear transport plan with zero-emission vehicle targets to drive the uptake of buses, trucks and cars powered by clean energy and the introduction of a vehicle emissions standard.

Automotive manufacturers are rapidly growing their range of zero-emission powertrains for light and heavy vehicles to address the pressing need to decarbonise the transport sector, including investing in the development of both electric vehicle technologies available in the marketplace today: battery electric and fuel cell electric.

Together, these technologies have an important and complementary role to play in reducing transport emissions while delivering fuel security benefits. However, as noted by the Climate Council, their introduction to Australia is being held back by a lack of policy support or incentives, higher upfront cost, lack of product, and the availability of public infrastructure.

Australia’s approach to zero emission transport is lagging behind other countries, being one of a handful of OECD nations without a vehicle emissions standard. While such a standard is currently under development, timing for its commencement is unclear. HMA therefore urges the Australian Government to provide clarity on this policy and its supporting measures so that barriers to entry, such as infrastructure are addressed and planning for the introduction of environmentally-friendly vehicles in volume can commence.

The Climate Council’s recommendations to government are consistent with the recently released CSIRO National Hydrogen Roadmap which identifies that infrastructure planning, education, demonstrations and incentives should be a priority of governments to support the entry of zero-emission vehicles, in this instance, H2-powered vehicles.

HMA’s CEO, Claire Johnson, said that with the benefits of zero-emission transport being consistently recognised in Australia, governments need to come to the table to demonstrate their commitment to the transition to green vehicles of all types.

“HMA and our members are working hard to introduce fuel cell electric vehicles to Australia with both H2 cars and forklifts to go on sale this year, however we need government to take action and address the barriers holding up their growth.”

“Through a technology neutral approach, governments can play an important role in working with industry to jump start this new and exciting sector that will deliver benefits to all Australians,” Johnson said.