Vehicle emissions standards

The Hon Angus Taylor MP
Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
CANBERRA, ACT 2600

 

Dear Minister,

Re: Vehicle Emission Standards

I write to you as a former Senior Adviser to the Federal Member for Mayo, Ms Rebekha Sharkie MP with a keen interest in public health and environmental issues.

Improving light and heavy vehicle emissions standards offer tremendous benefits:

  • to the health of Australians by mitigating the noxious air pollution that leads to more than 1,700 premature deaths a year[1] via respiratory disease;
  • to the environment by reducing CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions; and
  • by mitigating the negative health impacts that are consequential to climate change.

I recognise there are potential political obstacles to the introduction of more stringent heavy vehicle emissions standards, especially from the Government’s junior Coalition partner.

However - and without seeking to encourage inaction on heavy vehicle emission standards – progressing action on the emissions standards for light (passenger) vehicles presents an opportunity to the Coalition that tangibly demonstrates its commitment to public health and net zero emissions, and at much lower political risk.

As the Government’s Draft Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS), “Light Vehicle Emission Standards for Cleaner Air[2] from October 2020 indicates [my highlights]:

...there is a strong case for mandatory standards to reduce noxious emissions from road vehicles. The costs of air pollution from road vehicles are not borne directly by the vehicle manufacturers or by owners but are shared by the community. As such the problem cannot be addressed effectively by the operation of market forces alone as there is no commercial reason to do so. Government action to strengthen noxious emissions standards are internationally recognised as a very effective measure to reduce urban air pollution, and such standards have managed to deliver improvements in urban air quality despite growth in vehicle use.

Further:

Noxious emissions from road vehicles reduce urban air quality, leading to premature death and illness among Australians. …our current noxious emissions standards now trail most other developed countries including the EU, US, Canada, Japan and South Korea.

The Draft RIS then proposes:

...that the Government mandate Euro 6d for light vehicles for all newly approved models manufactured from 1 July 2027 and for all new vehicles manufactured from 1 July 2028.

Indeed, I would highly recommend that the Federal Government fast-track the Euro 6d mandate for light vehicles, commencing the mandate much earlier than 2027-28 and within the next term of Government.

This commitment - and the framing its introduction within the next electoral term - would be a very useful concrete measure for the Prime Minister and Australian Government to deploy at the forthcoming Glasgow 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).

May I then kindly request - when will the Government make its decision about the introduction of more stringent light and heavy vehicle emissions standards, and what will be the likely timeframe for their commencement?

Will the Government be adopting the core proposal of the relevant Draft RIS, namely, adopting a Euro 6d mandate for light vehicle emissions standards?

I hope that the Government can see both the political opportunity this proposal presents, as well as the public health and environmental benefits it would create for our fellow Australians.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Cornish

15 / 10 / 2021

Cc Dr John Kunkel, Chief of Staff, PMO

[1] See: https://www.smh.com.au/national/our-dirty-fuel-is-a-bigger-killer-than-covid-19-how-australia-fails-on-car-emissions-20200909-p55tri.html

[2] See: https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/sites/default/files/migrated/vehicles/environment/forum/files/light-vehicle-emission-standards-for-cleaner-air.pdf

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