Greenhouse gas emissions from diesel vehicles cancelled out cuts from renewable energy

(The Guardian, 1 Nov 2019) Annual carbon dioxide emissions from burning diesel increased by 21.7m tonnes between 2011 and 2018.

Greenhouse gas emissions from diesel cars, utes and vans have risen sharply since 2011, effectively cancelling out the cut in pollution from new renewable energy replacing some coal plants.

A surge in ownership of larger diesel vehicles is a central reason emissions from transport leapt by more than 10% over the decade, according to the monthly emissions audit published by progressive thinktank the Australia Institute.

They rose as the federal government considered, promoted and ultimately shelved plans to introduce vehicle emissions standards to address the issue.

Report author Hugh Saddler, an energy expert and honorary associate professor with the Australian National University’s Crawford School of Public Policy, found annual carbon dioxide emissions from burning diesel increased by 21.7m tonnes between 2011 and 2018.

Diesel vehicles – mostly utes – have doubled their share of the light commercial vehicle market, and from a lower base tripled their share of household passenger car sales. Emissions from electricity fell by 22.1m tonnes a year over the same period.

Saddler said the increase in diesel use was one of the reasons there had been a year-on-year rise in national emissions since 2015.

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The Guardian, 1 Nov 2019: Greenhouse gas emissions from diesel vehicles cancelled out cuts from renewable energy