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Inspiring climate action: the Journey to Net-Zero

The report aims to create a sustainable future for the transport sector nationally.

The Journey to Net-Zero report aims to inspire climate action throughout Australia’s transport sector.

According to the Federal Government’s Climate Change Authority, transport emissions domestically have risen every year, since 1990.

Furthermore, the transport sector alone was responsible for 18 per cent of Australia’s entire greenhouse gas emissions in 2020.

With unambiguous evidence pointing the finger at the transport sector’s impact on sustainability and climate change, the need for reducing transport emissions is an urgent matter.

The Journey to Net-Zero report has been published to inspire positive change within the industry and lead the way for the sector to achieve net-zero emissions.

Produced through an industry-first partnership between the Australasian Railway Association (ARA), Infrastructure Sustainability Council (ISC) and Roads Australia (RA), together with KPMG and Arup, the report details how the transport sector can – and is – accelerating decarbonisation.

It acts as a call to action, demonstrating how the transport sector can deliver more sustainable outcomes through innovation, ideation and collaboration.

The launch of a new era

The Journey to Net-Zero was launched at an event at the Sydney Cricket Ground, in New South Wales on June 3. Representatives from across the sector reflected on the findings of the report and, most importantly, set out practical steps to accelerate the journey to net-zero.

The launch has been hailed as a success, with keynote speakerJoyanne Manning, Australasian Resource Business Lead –  Arup, along with a panel consisting of Marko Misko (Host)- RA Board Member Chair – Sustainability Policy Stream, ​​​​​Roads Australia, Partner, HWL Ebsworth Lawyers, Michael Kilgariff- Chief Executive Officer Roads Australia, Ainsley Simpson- Chief Executive Officer Infrastructure Sustainability Council, Caroline Wilkie- Chief Executive Officer Australasian Railway Association and Alistair Coulstock- Director, Climate Change & Sustainability KPMG.

The report recommends the optimisation of asset design, construction, operation and road and rail fleets for a low carbon future.

The modern landscape

The Journey to Net-Zero report outlines a vision where communities are connected through safe, accessible, and efficient transport networks. It recognises that while examples of environmental sustainability are prevalent throughout the sector, progress towards a low carbon future has just begun.

Over twenty-nine local and global case studies and examples are provided in detail, giving readers practical examples of best practice being used throughout Australia and the world. These include Victoria’s Moreland Council and its zero-emissions vehicle policy, as well as the production of hydrogen engines from some of the world’s largest motor vehicle manufacturers.

Also addressed is the transport sector’s heavy reliance on fossil fuels throughout infrastructure construction and the operational life of assets. While electric vehicles remain as a feasible option, the report states that other alternatives are not yet viable.

Ultimately, the effects of climate change will be extensive on both society and the environment, the report states.

According to the Climate Council, Australia is on track to have an accumulated financial loss of more than $211 billion by 2050 and $4 trillion by 2100, due to reduced agricultural and labour productivity.

As such, the report states the key drivers for change throughout the sector will be the electrification of fleets, investment in sustainable biofuels and the development of the hydrogen industry to support the transition of haulage and rail stock to zero emissions.

The report presents five key recommendations for the decarbonisation of the transport sector.

Key recommendations

The first of these is the creation of a national approach to the transport sector and its infrastructure, focusing on placemaking to address the social, environmental and cultural imbalances in the existing urban landscape. Thus, ensuring that new communities are designed with all material social, environmental, and cultural issues appropriately considered.

Secondly, to introduce policy, investment, and incentives for an efficient, sustainable and resilient transport system both at a state and federal government level. This will aim to assist with the transition to new renewable energy solutions, sustainable materials and advanced manufacturing.

The report also calls for further investment into renewable energy research and development.

Thirdly, to implement governance structures and processes to drive transparency and enable sound decision-making around the decarbonisation of transport systems. The report also advocates for clear structures in both government and industry with transparency and accountability to be implemented during not only the planning stage but also design, construction, and operational stages of all land-based transport infrastructure projects.

The fourth recommendation is for the exploration of collaboration, capacity building and education at all stages of the process. Also for new approaches to procurement to ensure a culture of collaboration is fostered both at a national and state level in planning and regulation but also at the local and project level between all major stakeholders.

And finally, to promote technology solutions that optimise asset design, construction, operation, road and rail fleets to transition to a low carbon economy.

The journey ahead

In summary, the report states that the community should remain at the focus of decision-making, while establishing an environmentally friendly transport system. But also paramount is the cohesion between government and industry to identify suitable pathways for sustainability.

“The wind of change is already here. However, more action is necessary to achieve the targets and goals we desire,” – The Journey to Net-Zero.

For more information on the report, visit: www.iscouncil.org

This article was originally published in the September edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.

 


 

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