Emissions of greenhouse gases from diesel cars, utes and vans have increased dramatically since 2011, effectively eliminating the cut in pollution from new renewable energies to replace some coal-fired power plants.
Increased ownership of diesel vehicles is the main reason why transport emissions have increased by more than 10% over the decade, according to the monthly emissions audit published by the progressive thinktank of the Australia Institute.
They grew up when the federal government considered, promoted and finally set aside plans to introduce vehicle emission standards to address the problem.
The author of the report Hugh Saddler, an energy expert and associate honorary professor at the Crawford School of Public Policy of the Australian National University, found that annual carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of diesel increased by 21.7 million of tonnes between 2011 and 2018.
Diesel vehicles – mostly utes – have doubled their share of the light commercial vehicle market and from a lower base have tripled their share of domestic car sales. Electricity emissions decreased by 22.1 million tonnes per year over the same period.
Saddler stated that the increase in the use of diesel was one of the reasons why there was an annual increase in national emissions since 2015.
He said that governments and industry have improved fuel consumption of heavy goods vehicles by road, but have done little to increase the efficiency of light vehicles such as work or ; family car, with the problem "placed in the purgatory of a ministerial forum in the last five years".
"Focusing exclusively on reducing electricity emissions without being able to recognize the importance of transport emissions is taking two steps forward, one step back," he said.
Saddler said that in the last six months there has been a decline in retail diesel sales, but it was too early to say what caused it.
The ministerial forum on vehicle emissions was established by the Turnbull government in 2015. In 2017, interest groups were sent a model that proposed a standard of 105 g of carbon dioxide per kilometer for Australian light vehicles, scheduled for 2020 to 2025.
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development estimated the resulting fuel savings would offer a net advantage in the economy by 2040 of $ 13.9 billion. The owner of an average petrol car should have saved $ 519 per year.
Josh Frydenberg, then Minister of the Environment and Energy, now Treasurer, said that Australia's fuel efficiency reforms, fuel quality and harmful emissions standards had the potential to offer real benefitsand stressed that 80% of the global passenger fleet of vehicles was subject to fuel efficiency standards. But the proposal was shelved after internal opposition and criticism from the automotive lobby.
The work adopted a similar policy before this year's federal elections, promising that 50% of new car sales would be electric by 2030. Scott Morrison responded by accusing the opposition of wanting to "end the end week "forcing people to give up four-wheel drive.
A spokesman for Michael McCormack, the minister of infrastructure, transport and regional development, said that the government's goal was to encourage cleaner and more efficient vehicles without weighing down Australian families.
He underlined an announcement in February that he would develop a national strategy for electric vehicles "to plan and manage the transition to new vehicle technologies and infrastructure".
"The policy of the liberal and national government is clear: we will not introduce a mandatory fuel efficiency standard capable of raising the price of cars for Australians," he said.
Saddler stated on the basis of evidence that "there is absolutely no reason" for not introducing vehicle emission standards. "It is a failure of political will," he said.
Most OECD countries have adopted policies to reduce emissions and improve vehicle efficiency. Saddler said that in the 90's diesel vehicles were considered better for the environment than petrol cars, but the technology has evolved and many markets, particularly in Europe, have moved towards more alternatives clean.
The Australian government has reviewed the emission reductions it expects to clean up from cars over time. In 2015, he produced a graph indicating that it should reach a reduction of around 100 million tonnes between 2020 and 2030 through vehicle emission standards. The climate package released at the beginning of this year, it has provided only 10 million tons of felling through a strategy for electric vehicles yet to be released.