CAR travel should be cut by 80%, road construction halted and public transport boosted if Australia is to meet carbon emission targets, energy experts have warned.Why the heck is the car doomed? Because it puts out a bit of CO2? Why is the solution to the so-called carbon problem found in banning cars altogether and not developing zero emission vehicles?
"The car is doomed," Monash University associate professor Damon Honnery said, discussing the findings of a soon-to-be-published research paper, Mitigating Greenhouse: Limited Time, Limited Options, written with Dr Patrick Moriarty.
Federal and state governments should stop building new arterial roads, the two scientists from Monash University's department of mechanical and aerospace engineering argue.By 'people' does he mean the great, unwashed masses who he clearly doesn't associate himself with? What does it mean to live in a decentralised society? I drive 15km to work each day. Clearly, I can't walk that far. Assuming that I could be motivated to ride a bike then it's still going to take a long time, I'll need to deal with extreme weather (very hot, very wet, very cold) at different times of the year, I'll need to have a shower when I get to work (impact on water usage) and I'll need to have somewhere at work to store my suit, as it's not really recommended cycling material.
Instead, governments must focus on phasing out cars, improving the energy efficiency of public transport and making people use it, they argue. "Ultimately, we are going to have to move to a decentralised society where most people need to travel far less," Professor Honnery said.
"People are going to have to fundamentally change the way they think about travel and make much more use of non-motorised travel such as cycling and walking."
All of these things have a serious impact on productivity. Who's that going to hurt first and hardest? Not these supposed academics, for whom the concept of personal productivity is as foreign as having a real understanding of how the world works.
The research comes as Professor Ross Garnaut paints a bleak picture of the dangers and costs of global warming, suggesting Australia may need to slash its greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 90% by 2050.Why does Garnaut restrict his recommendation to Australia? Surely, the report should suggest that the world needs to slash its greenhouse gas emissions and that if the major emitters agree to reduce carbon then we should also. Going it alone in order to 'show leadership' to the world is hardly a sensible policy.
Passenger cars account for 8% of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions, and all other transport such as freight accounts for 6% of emissions, according to the Australian Greenhouse Office. Power generation accounts for 50% of Australia's emissions.Sooooooooo, deal with power generation first?
The big emission cuts needed in the transport sector require a near-total shift from the private car to public transport, the paper argues.As pointed out above, that position is completely unsustainable by rational argument.
Dr Moriarty also believes there must be big reductions in air travel. "An overseas trip might become a once-in-a-lifetime experience rather than an annual event," he said.Again, why take a position that air travel must be cut down rather than air travel be made carbon friendly?
RACV public policy general manager Brian Negus said there needed to be a balanced approach to planning for future car use: "We need to improve the road system so you get more efficiency and less congestion."These people are true totalitarians.
And key roads still needed to be built, he said. The RACV has long argued that the Metropolitan Ring Road, which currently ends at Greensborough, should be linked with the Eastern Freeway.
The RACV also wants more money poured into public transport, and a renewed focus on car pooling, walking and cycling, as a way of freeing up road space.