Wow – and thanks To get the ball rolling I have improved the post with this:
If you REALLY want to be concerned about engine emissions in Australia, then consider how we handle regulation.
In February the Ministerial Forum on Vehicle Emissions released a public consultation basically about moving to Euro 6 - the 2015 EU standard. https://infrastructure.gov.au/roads/environment/forum/index.aspx
The AU public consultation process would not deliver a decision for a year or more so that means we would be 3 years behind world’s best – at the very least.
I think part of the reason we are so very slow is that the study is being run under 3 different Ministers. That’s crazy that that something as important as car emissions has no one clear Department taking responsibility.
What is recognized as needed is an AU version of the Clean Air Act. That way we can have a law in place and “plug in” cars and things that are not regulated in Au but are in many countries like Locomotives, farm machinery, diesel generators, wood fired heaters, aircraft, boat engines, lawn mowers, chain saws … shall I go on?
Environment Minister Greg Hunt took this a long way forward, unlike the previous 4 Environment Ministers I have followed since 2015. Hunt delivered an agreement with the states – A National Clean Air agreement earlier this year, which smooths the path to the sort of laws we need, but is tricky under our Constitution due to state vs federal powers. What Hunt didn’t get passed in time before the election was the first set of laws covering small engines from lawn mowers to outboards to chain saws. (I’m writing this early morning on Election day – so let’s see who is Environment Minister in August. If asked I’m happy to expand on the 3 major political parties. but after the election - i too have heard enough political opinion)
DISCLOSURE: I’ve been working pro bono since 2005 to get these small engine laws in place. – Ask me anything. nothing to hide here.
What they found out about VW would never have been caught in AU. The Department of Environment insists on this passive, “risk based” approach despite being severely criticized in two Auditor General reports and a Royal Commission. Unlike the US, Australia has no inspection program, no inspectors and no auditors of emissions standards.
Not only are we slow to adopt world’s best practice for Motor vehicles, but we let a lot of engines through the cracks. The public consultation dismissed regulating motorbikes based on a whitewash that they are clean because of overseas standards and they are small. Well 12 minutes of research shows that motorcycles that meet the old international standards have more emissions than a Hummer. AU motorcycles, especially two strokes are far far worse.
And let’s not forget two stroke garden equipment. A brush cutter has 10 times the emissions of a car, a lawn mower 40 times. And there are plenty of them. To put these small but very polluting engines in scale we buy around 1 million Cars p.a. and 1.4 million pieces of garden equipment. Sure, we run the car more than the mower – but 40 times more? But the greatest unmeasured risk is the Mower pollutes right where we live, close to family as opposed to leaving the emissions behind at 60 KPH.
The USA regulated these engines 19 years ago and since then the rest of the world including even India and China. Australia? Bureaucrats have been stuffing around with this since before 2005 – 11 years!
Currently planned for 2017 - Watch this space. And this space.