In 2018, Auckland Transport announced their Low Emission Bus Roadmap (LEBR) that commits to transitioning, by 2040, the entire public transport bus fleet from diesel to low emission (electric and hydrogen). This translates to a target of an 85% reduction in emissions.
We focused on public buses first as they are the greatest source of emissions (and because diesel buses produce harmful air pollution). We now have a target focusing on our operational emissions, that is, emissions from the assets that we own or directly operate. This includes our corporate activities, like office power and gas, office waste, and staff travel for work (AT vehicle fleet, taxis, rental cars, air travel); and our operational activities, like public transport facilities, parking facilities, traffic and street lights, and public trains.
The target is to reduce these emissions by 50% (compared to 2018) by 2030. This target covers 13,320 tonnes of carbon dioxide – combined with the LEBR target we have bold targets on over 80% of our emissions.
In the last financial year, AT and its public transport operators generated almost 136,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Virtually of these carbon dioxide emissions were used to move over 82 million passengers on public transport. Of the 136,000 tonnes – which is about 19,100 Kiwi households – over 70% were from fuel for our bus services, all public transport services are 95% of our emissions. AT’s remaining emissions were from our facilities (like train, ferry & bus stops and parking buildings), street and traffic lights, and lastly our corporate activities like our running our offices and fuelling our vehicle fleet.
COVID-19 had little impact on our total emissions as our public transport, parking facilities, traffic and street lights continued at all Alert Levels. Expectedly, corporate emissions fell significantly (26%), but these emissions are less than one per cent of our total emissions. Total emissions fell 4.5% from last year.
The only area without a target is our public ferry services; we are investigating ways to reduce emissions but aren’t ready to finalise a target yet.
The emissions and targets above focus on AT and our public transport operators. The emissions from those using Auckland’s roads – in their cars, on buses (ours and others), trucks moving freight – was 4.3 million tonnes in 2018. AT does not have a specific emissions reduction target for this 4.3 million tonnes because many different organisations contribute to reducing emissions. We provide public transport services and cycling and walking infrastructure to encourage Aucklanders out of their private vehicles (we already have targets on these measures in our Statement of Intent). The central government has the primary responsibility in what vehicles are on our roads; they can encourage the shift to privately owned EVs and improve regulations on vehicle fuel efficiency – two measures that will significantly reduce emissions. Auckland Council is responsible for where and how the city grows, more growth on the edges of Auckland likely means people will travel further – increasing emissions.