Australian Greens' Additional Comments

Australian Greens' Additional Comments

1.1        The Australian Greens are committed to ensuring reliable transport energy supplies that efficiently and effectively serve the needs for the community and industry, while eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels and our greenhouse gas emissions.

1.2        The committee report is a good summary of the varied issues at play with regard to securing Australia’s transport energy supplies.

1.3        While we note that there were varied views on the key aspects of transport energy security, clear themes of serious concern have emerged from the evidence provided. These include our transport sector’s vulnerability to low or insecure fuel supplies, and the environmental risks of fuel tankers with deficiencies posing threats to our marine environment.

1.4        The Greens note in particular, submissions to the inquiry that highlighted the energy resilience opportunities and emissions reduction potential of reducing fossil fuel dependence in our transport sector. For example, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering noted, "Countries around the world are taking steps to reduce transport emissions while accommodating growth in the economy and population by maximising energy efficiency, electrification and development of low carbon fuels. Additional benefits include greater energy security and independence from reliance on a single fuel source."[1]

1.5        Before the Senate is a private members bill from the Australian Greens that would replicate the European Union’s fuel efficiency standards for motor vehicles and dramatically reduce fuel demand and the risks posed through energy security.

1.6        The committee examined issues related to gas as a fuel source and gas-powered vehicles as a way to increase Australia’s fuel security. While we support the view of submitters that reducing reliance on diesel fuels is a favourable step, we note that CNG and LNG represent a continued reliance on fossil fuels. We note that a shift to CNG and LNG only reduces greenhouse gas emissions by around 25% and so does not constitute a long term solution to reducing transport carbon emissions to zero or near zero which will be required in the coming decades as part of a global commitment to avoid dangerous climate change.

1.7        There is also a small, but predictable revolution occurring in the field of battery storage and electric and hydrogen cars. As the charging infrastructure is rolled out globally and in Australia, and the economies of scale reduce the costs of fossil free vehicles, the pressures of liquid energy security will greatly ease.

1.8        The Greens note that coal-to-liquids (CTL) technology was explored briefly in the report, but without expansion into the emissions intensiveness of the resulting product. It should be noted that this technology may offer a diversification of source for fossil fuels, but would be a backwards step with regard to transitioning Australia’s transport energy supply to a zero carbon emissions footing.

1.9        While we support the recommendations contained in the report, the Australian Greens feel that stronger emphasis needs to be placed in order to take into account the issues noted in these comments. We propose the following recommendations in addition to those included in the report.

Recommendation 1

1.10             That the Australian Government develop and publish a comprehensive Transport Energy Plan directed to achieving a secure, affordable and sustainable transport energy supply. The plan should be developed following a public consultation process. The plan should set targets for the secure zero carbon supply of Australia's transport energy, and outline a transition to achieve this supply over the coming two decades.

Recommendation 2

1.11             That the government encourage and support the development of zero carbon and potential zero carbon transport energy sources and transport systems, including

Recommendation 3

1.12             That the Senate pass the Motor Vehicles (Cheaper Transport) Bill 2014 to reduce fuel demand across the economy by requiring the importation of new motor vehicles complies with global standards.

Senator Janet Rice
Australian Greens

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