Climate action leaders from around Australia have signed an agreement to accelerate the country’s transition to electric vehicles at a Climate Action Roundtable.

Meeting in Adelaide in early December, the leaders signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) agreeing to develop a plan to increase the share of electric vehicles in their fleets and to consider how to use their combined market power to promote the public uptake of electric vehicles.

They also agreed to coordinate the strategic planning and construction of infrastructure for electric vehicles and seek to align states’ standards and incentives.

South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, and the cities of Adelaide, Hobart and Darwin, took part in the roundtable.

They committed to continuing to urgently progress action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

South Australia, Western Australia, the ACT, Adelaide and Hobart signed the MoU with the Electric Vehicle Council.

The roundtable also agreed to pursue opportunities for collaboration on policies to encourage energy efficiency in buildings and suburbs and the infrastructure that supports them.

The members of the Climate Action Roundtable have a shared commitment to ambitious climate change action consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

All are working to achieve the transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

In July 2017 they signed the Climate Leadership Declaration to highlight the role states and territories can play in climate change action and the economic benefits it can deliver.

SA Minister for Climate Change, Ian Hunter, said transport was the fastest-growing contributor to climate change globally, and other major economies are moving away from petrol and diesel-fuelled engines.

“It’s important that we are at the forefront of a transition to lower-emission vehicles in Australia – both to reduce greenhouse gases and other emissions, and to keep pace with global competitors,” Mr Hunter said.

“States, territories and cities have an important role in increasing the uptake of electric vehicles as they control a number of the policies that can shift public perception and behaviour.

“Collaborating as we are enables us to identify and pursue the best ways to act and adapt to climate change.”

Electric Vehicle Council CEO, Behyad Jafari, said the move was an encouraging step forward for Australia, and an opportunity for state and local governments to work together to drive progress on zero emissions transport.

“As the global market for electric vehicles grows exponentially, Australia has fallen behind. We need governments to take meaningful action to begin the process of transitioning our economy from imported oils, to transport run from domestically generated renewable energy,” Mr Jafari said. 

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