The way we travel and transport goods around the country has a major impact on our greenhouse gas emissions.
In Australia, emissions from domestic transport (road, rail, domestic aviation and domestic shipping) accounted for 17 per cent of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2013.
This number does not include international air travel, which is another significant source of transport related emissions. (For up to date information check The Department of the Environment’s quarterly reports on Australian greenhouse gas emissions.)
Cycling and Walking
The good news is that reducing emissions from transport can also improve our health and help build better communities.
When we walk and cycle more, we are more active and lead a healthier lifestyle. We get to see and experience more of our local community, we can stop to have a chat with neighbours and meet other community members, and we are more likely to discover new shops, cafes or other places of interest. Fewer cars on the road also means less noise and less air pollution.
Palerang Council has developed a framework for improved cycling and pedestrian access in Bungendore and Braidwood. You may have noticed some of the newly built bike paths around town – why not try them out?
There may be more public transport options available in your area than you are aware of! FuturePLANS has been working with local public transport providers to bring better public transport to Bungendore.
For example, did you that there is a bus linking Bungendore, Canberra and Canberra Airport? Click on the link to find out more!
Reduce Emissions from Car Transport
Unfortunately, sometimes we still need a car. A fuel efficient car is better for the environment than a fuel guzzler, and you also end up spending less on fuel costs.
If you are in the market for a new vehicle, find out which car would provide the best environmental outcome to suit your needs.
Fuel Efficiency and Fuel Consumption
The Australian Government’s Green Vehicle Guide gives information on the fuel efficiency of all major vehicle brands, including older models, electric vehicles and trucks.
The Australian government requires all new cars sold in Australia to have a clear label that shows the car’s fuel consumption in litres per 100km travelled and its carbon emissions per kilometre. The Moreland Energy Foundation has a downloadable guide to the help you understand Australia’s Fuel Efficiency and New Car Label Standards.
Car pooling and sharing
Another easy way to reduce the emissions from driving is to share a ride. Do you have a space in your car that you could offer to somebody? Or do you need a ride? Please get in touch if you are interested!
Flights and emissions
Even if you have an energy-efficient home, you have minimised your car use, you recycle, have solar panels on your roof or buy GreenPower electricity, and you grow your own food, you could still undo all your efforts by getting on a plane. Just one trip to Europe is enough to create more emissions than the average annual household produces per person in a year.
Unfortunately, there are no easy answers to solve this problem. The idea behind offsets is that you calculate the amount of emissions you are responsible for and then pay for an investment in tree planting or renewable energy to make up for the pollution you have caused.
The problem with offsets is that you are still contributing to the rise in greenhouse gas emissions. Let’s assume you paid to have trees planted to offset your emissions. The trees will not take up carbon dioxide until they have matured many years into the future. Not all trees that are planted will survive. And maybe that tree would have been planted anyway, even without the carbon offset payment, in which case the offset has made no difference at all.
In addition, there have been some less reputable companies taking advantage of people’s desire to live a greener lifestyle.
So what can you do?
- Think about your options: Do you actually need to go on that particular trip? Could you do a different trip instead that would require less carbon emissions?
- If you do need to go on the trip, do you have to take a plane? Is there a different, less polluting way to travel?
- And if you do have to catch a flight and want to use emissions offsets, make sure you go with a reputable provider that meets the National Carbon Offset Standard.