Sydney Committee warns state will miss emissions targets

Sydneysiders are being told they need to change the way they live under a radical new plan to decarbonise the country’s most populous city.

Petrol and diesel cars would be banned in just five years and there should be no new gas connections to buildings across the city, a Committee proposal for Sydney suggests.

Under the plan, gas connections would be phased out starting in 2035 and there should be no new gas appliances by 2030.

The influential body of business leaders and infrastructure experts has said that without more aggressive action, the state will not be able to meet its 2030 or 2050 goals.

“New South Wales climate policies lead the nation, but this research is a wake-up call that Sydney is not headed for net zero; we have a lot of work to do,” said committee spokesman Sam Kernaghan.

“To cut emissions in half by 2030, the only levers big enough to make a real difference are putting many more electric vehicles on the road and reducing the carbon intensity of the energy we use.

“Both come with huge social, logistical and political challenges, but the reduced energy bills that come with transportation and electrified buildings will be worth it.”

To achieve the projected reductions, the committee said twice as many electric vehicles were needed on the roads than the Steady Transition approach calls for.

All government and commercial fleets must convert to electric vehicles by 2030.

“A well-announced ban on the sale of gasoline and diesel cars would also send a clear signal to the industry that electric vehicle charging, servicing and supply chain networks need to be established,” the report states.

The urban policy think tank’s model released with the report said that, on average, a household could save around $1,250 a year in fuel costs if it could afford to make the switch.

A home battery could cut those bills by another $850 per year, and converting gas appliances to electric could save another $150 per year on average.

Endeavor Energy CEO Guy Chalkley has forecast that by 2027 there will be more than 1.3 million electric vehicles on its network by 2040.

“Our customers tell us that they want to take control of their energy to fit their individual circumstances and they want us to make sure the grid is ready for this transformative change,” he said.

“We must take stock of short-term volatility in the economy and cost-of-living pressures while seizing the opportunity to reposition the electric system to achieve balanced long-term results for customers.”

The report also recommended expanding rental and apartment access to rooftop solar and battery storage.

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