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Private car users in Government sights as transport emissions continue to rise

Ian Bushnell 15 February 2019 207
Canberra Traffic

The Government wants more Canberrans to swap cars for the bus, light rail, or bike. File photo.

The ACT Government will target private car owners in a bid to reverse rising greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector, with private car use the biggest contributor.

Overall the ACT’s greenhouse gas emissions continue to fall, as more of the Territory’s electricity comes from renewable sources. But the transport sector stands apart as the next big challenge for the Government.

The ACT’s 2017-18 Greenhouse Gas Inventory report found that the ACT’s emissions fell 14 per cent over the year, but transport emissions rose 2.3 per cent on 2016-17 levels and now accounts for 34 per cent of all emissions.

By 2020, when the ACT will be powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity, transport will be Canberra’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, at more than 60 per cent.

Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury said the Government would be encouraging car users to consider other ways of getting around the city.

“The Government will focus on helping people to take sustainable modes of transport, like light rail, buses and active transport. We’re also looking to the community to work with us, to being open to trying new ways of moving around the city,” he said.

The Government is also encouraging the take-up of electric vehicles, with new charge points, and the transition of the Government fleet to ‘clean’ cars.

Mr Rattenbury said the other challenge was reducing reliance on natural gas, and eventually phasing out its use altogether. Natural gas emissions decreased by 4 per cent on 2016-17 levels, but it is still a major source of heating for many Canberrans.

“Natural gas emissions are already reducing, partly due to people switching to new highly efficient electric appliances for their home heating and cooking,” he said.

The report found a big drop in waste emissions, down 31 per cent from 2016-17, mainly due to an increase in the volume of landfill gas captured and burnt.

Electricity emissions fell 27 per cent on 2016-17 levels.

“The report shows the ACT continues to make great progress in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable electricity generation grew from 30 per cent to 49 per cent in 2017-18 as more of our wind farms came online,” Minister Rattenbury said.

He said the report showed that, with strong community support, the ACT can meet its emission goals.

The 2017-18 Greenhouse Gas Inventory is available at

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207 Responses to Private car users in Government sights as transport emissions continue to rise
Tempestas Tempestas 11:18 am 24 Feb 19

Here is a thought, given all the “but it is impossible for me to use PT or change travel mode because too hard, long difficult, not enough service etc”. How about we limit car use to one lane or one way on every road in Canberra that a bus uses or an on road cycle lane exists. That will serve to make car commutes more equal to other transport modes and allow us to speed up PT and cycling as well as add more PT services. To help pay for all the new PT we can triple rego fees & parking and limit all parking in town centres to 2 hour max.

If the proposal by govt was this anti-car, then you would have something to complain about. It isn’t – it is about targeting car users to change their transport mode where they can. Obviously that won’t work for every commute, but if it works for you at some time and you chose that other mode it will be good for all of Canberra.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:33 am 24 Feb 19

Yes JC, I saw that explanation about the pantograph/charging problem. The City to Woden section will have this set-up unless the government opt for the more expensive and complex induction system.

The re-introduction of trams in Sydney a few years ago also saw a lot of “teething” problems with CAF trams .

With you being the major defender for this unfolding disaster I am happier to be the cheerleader for the “I told you so” detractors.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 4:20 pm 22 Feb 19

The first week of Newcastle’s tram experiment (same as Canberra’s) a magnificent success:

    JC JC 5:11 pm 23 Feb 19

    One main difference is Newcastle runs in batteries and recharged at stops. And Lo and behold the article mentioned the problem with the second vehicle was with the pabtograph that is raised at stops to charge and the first also a charging issue.

    That said do you seriously think any project in the world will not have teething problems? I’m awaiting the glee from some here when the first operational breakdown occurs in the Canberra line. The comments will be along the lines see we told you all it was a bucket of poo. But after a few weeks it will all settle down and never heard from again.

Gordon Wood Gordon Wood 2:13 pm 22 Feb 19

What we need is a teleportation system run on green power. stargate/Star Trek not the fly style please!

Gordon Wood Gordon Wood 1:31 pm 22 Feb 19

Oh no here comes greater registration cost!

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 2:15 pm 22 Feb 19

    It would be better to have a congestion tax, rather than slug the occasional car used the same as the person who uses their car everyday. That would do more to encourage people to leave their car at home and take the bus, cycle, or walk to work (or combination), than increase registration and then people say I might as well drive; I'm paying enough in registration; need to make it worth it.

    Gordon Wood Gordon Wood 2:23 pm 22 Feb 19

    Julie Macklin lower registration costs and congestion tolls on major roads. I’d be happy with that as I do more driving in Sydney than Canberra

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