Diesel emissions rising fast: pitt&sherry report
The Carbon Emissions Index (CEDEX) report by pitt&sherry and The Australia Institute (TAI) for March indicates that electricity generation continues to be the greatest contributor to emissions, principally through black and brown coal generation.
Meanwhile, gas generation has decreased slightly and renewable sources remained relatively unchanged. The use of black coal has increased slightly, but has been offset by decreases in brown coal.
Petroleum, and in particular diesel, along with electricity generation, is a significant contributor to the increased growth in emissions with road transport and mining applications producing the weight of the CO2-e emissions.
In mining, the major use of diesel is for excavation and in-mine haulage equipment. Most of the rail systems transporting minerals from mine to port are also fuelled by diesel.
The pitt&sherry report shows that the consumption of diesel via road transport and mining has risen significantly compared to other sectors, such as agriculture, which has remained relatively flat.
According to the most recent Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) data, published in 2015 for the preceding financial year, the total Australian road freight increased at an average compound rate of 2.6 percent each year between 2005-06 and 2012-13. By contrast, road transport diesel consumption grew by an average annual compound rate of 4.6 percent over the same period.
Even if it is assumed that there was no increase in road freight efficiency over this period, the difference indicates a major shift from petrol to diesel as a fuel for light vehicles, the report states. The mining industry has contributed some 49 percent of diesel consumption, increasing in the order of 125 percent since 2008.
Dr Hugh Saddler, Senior Principal – Energy Strategies at pitt&sherry, says: “The shift by new car purchasers to diesel engines in recent years has certainly played a part in emissions reduction, but the increased number of vehicles may have offset that advantage.
“In terms of freight transport, the use of rail for moving some of the goods currently transported by road would significantly reduce the emissions created by trucks. On a per tonnage and kilometre measure, the amount of diesel emissions via rail would be significantly lower than for the same tonnage and distance using trucks,” Dr Saddler says.
According to Matt Hyatt, Group Executive – Victoria at pitt&sherry, “The data clearly demonstrates the trend towards diesel usage in light commercial vehicles and an increase in freight and commercial activity. It is important therefore, to look at reducing traffic congestion in the major cities. Consumers are already looking for more fuel efficient engines.
“In addition, projects such as the heavy haul rail infrastructure at Moorebank Integrated Precinct in Sydney highlights that investment in rail infrastructure will reduce the congestion and wear on our road networks.”
The full CEDEX report can be found at: http://www.pittsh.com.au/cedex/