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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

12 September 2004

New hydrogen buses to cut greenhouse emissions

Almost two million tonnes of greenhouse gas could be stopped from going into the atmosphere each year if all of Australia's buses were powered by hydrogen, the Minister for the Environment, Senator Ian Campbell, said today.

This would amount to 2.7 per cent of Australia's annual emissions from all road transport, Senator Campbell said at the launch of a trial of three hydrogen fuel cell buses in Perth.

Perth and 10 European cities are trialing 33 hydrogen fuel cell buses to assess the environmental benefits of the technology, costs, safety, regulatory requirements and consumer reaction.

The Australian Government is contributing $2.5 million to the trial. The Western Australian Government, DaimlerChrysler and BP Australia are also partners. "Hydrogen technology holds an enormous potential for reducing greenhouse gases and therefore helping to combat climate change," Senator Campbell said.

"By simply having all of the country's buses powered by hydrogen — provided it is produced without emissions — we would cut the amount of greenhouse gases escaping into the atmosphere from road transport by 2.7 per cent a year.

"This is very exciting technology which can eliminate emissions from vehicle tailpipes and cut noise.

"The technology has been improved dramatically in recent years and is now nearing the stage of commercialization."

Senator Campbell said the cooperation between governments and industry on the project would promote the early introduction of hydrogen fuel cell technology in Australia and the transfer of knowledge between BP Australia and ChryslerDaimler would provide significant opportunities for Australian industry and researchers. "The Australian Government has invested $1.7 billion into environmental programs to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including measures to improve the emissions performance of vehicles.

"The Government's commitment to climate change and initiatives such as this hydrogen fuel cell project is demonstrated by the fact that Australia is one of only five countries such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Germany that are likely to reach their Kyoto emissions targets.

"Australia will not ratify the Kyoto Protocol because it would harm our economy, disadvantage industry, cost jobs and not make any significant impact on global climate change. Real change will only occur when all of the major emitters, agree on a common course.

"But consider this: between 1990 and 2002 our economy grew by 47 percent, while greenhouse emissions grew by 1.3 percent"

Senator Campbell said that this achievement is coming through the Howard Government's commitment to investing in initiatives that will cut greenhouse emissions and working with high energy users to manufacture smarter and cleaner."

Commonwealth of Australia