Rail will help achieve reductions in transport emissions

The report ‘Transforming Rail: A Key Element in Australia’s Low Pollution Future’ has been released by the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Rail Innovation.
Led by Professor Peter Sheehan, the report examines rail’s situation in the proposed Australian Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS). It describes that the current transport system is riddled with market failures and that the economic and social costs of current transport patterns are enormous.
While accepting that emissions trading is a valid response to climate change, the report concludes that the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme is not sufficient in itself to efficiently reduce emissions: “A sharp reduction in transport emissions will be required if Australia is to pursue even the modest global stabilisation target.
“This insightful research clearly identified that to achieve Australia’s climate change goals, sharp reductions in transport emissions are necessary. This will require going beyond emissions trading to a new generation of transport policies,” said David George, CEO of the CRC for Rail Innovation.
If Australia is to achieve its climate change goals to 2030 (as set out in the Australian Government’s White Paper) the report states that these new generation of transport policies should include the recovery costs generated by long distance truck users by a mass-distance-location charging regime and more direct public investment in rail infrastructure.
The report concludes that a modal shift from road to rail will have large environmental, economic and social benefits, as rail is typically a more energy efficient form of transport than road, with lower energy use per passenger kilometre or per tonne kilometre.
“Transforming Rail: A Key Element in Australia’s Low Pollution Future” report is available on the CRC for Rail Innovation’s website at www.railcrc.net.au/.

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