As Australia’s carbon emissions rise under the Liberal government for a third year in a row, it’s important not to become despondent. Australians do want clean, renewable electricity, and are dipping into their own savings to install solar panels on private homes. Thanks to ordinary Australians, we now have the highest proportion of households with photovoltaic systems on their roof of any country in the world.
Transport, our third largest contributor to greenhouse pollution, presents another golden opportunity to bring about critically important reductions in emissions. Electric vehicles bring the benefits of reduced smog, soot and particulates to our towns and villages — and reduce noise.
For the past 30 years, Australia has hosted the World Solar Challenge — a 3000 km race across Australia from Darwin to Adelaide for solar-powered cars.
These sleek, aerodynamic machines can travel at well over 100 km/hr and cross the continent in just four days. Although we will probably never see these “Formula 1” cars on our roads, this world famous event has stimulated engineers and students to develop outstanding innovations. The World Solar Challenge can rightly claim to be the genesis of both Tesla and the Brisbane-based EV company, Tritium.
Just last month, the ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury MLC committed the ACT government to having all newly leased government passenger vehicles to be zero emissions. Our local region is also joining in, with charging points springing up at local wineries, town centres and tourist spots.