AUSTRALIA’S road transport sector is in the grip of one of the biggest emissions crises in history, according to a report by the Australian Road Transport Industry Association (ARTI).
The report, released on Thursday, found that emissions from road transport in Australia are currently on track to be among the highest on the planet, with a projected total increase of 8 per cent by 2050.
The study also found that the emission of CO2 is predicted to increase by an average of 11 per cent per decade between now and 2050, and that the carbon intensity of road transport will be higher than that of electricity and gas transport.
In the report, the ARTI says the most serious threat to road transport is the rapid growth of motor vehicles.
According to the study, the growth in the number of road vehicles and the use of these vehicles for the transportation of goods and people will cause a greater proportion of CO 2 to be emitted than is emitted by existing vehicles.
It is also predicted that emissions in the form of CO₂ from vehicles will double by 2050, from around one billion tonnes to two billion tonnes, with the greatest increase occurring in the south-east, where the growth is expected to be more than triple.
“By 2050, the number and the proportion of vehicle emissions will be on par with that emitted by air-conditioning systems and the combustion of fossil fuels,” the report said.
There is also the risk of increasing traffic congestion, with more vehicles on roads and in the air, and a greater demand for roads, the report says.
A recent study in the journal Environmental Research Letters found that a combination of climate change, road building, and pollution could reduce emissions by as much as 60 per cent in 2050.
The report warned that while the climate crisis is not likely to disappear anytime soon, it could lead to greater costs to Australia’s road transport infrastructure.
“It is projected that the CO⁂ emissions will increase by a rate of 1.4 per cent (in 2050) for the transport sector and by 3 per cent for the industry, with both drivers and passengers,” the study said.
“This would result in a significant cost increase for the public transport system in Australia.”
The study’s author, Professor Simon Crampton from the University of Technology Sydney, said while the study did not have an exact figure, it was expected to increase the cost of roads by up to 25 per cent, as a result of increased vehicle travel and the associated emissions.
“The cost to the system and to the economy will be a large part of the overall cost, and it is estimated that the total cost of all roads will be $300 billion by 2050,” he said.
The ARTI said the growing number of vehicles and vehicles themselves were contributing to the CO2 emissions crisis.
“As more vehicles and larger and larger numbers of people use our roads, CO2 levels will increase,” the statement said.
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