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Curtin Professor helping lead charge against climate change

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Curtin University’s Professor Peter Newman has been appointed the lead author on transport for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report.

Professor Newman, Director of the Curtin University Sustainable Policy Institute (CUSP) and a Board Member for Infrastructure Australia, said his appointment as one of only two lead authors in Australia, and the only one in Western Australia, was a great honour.

“Being asked to contribute to the next major phase of IPCC work is humbling, as well as a great opportunity to showcase some of the work we have been doing here in Australia,” Professor Newman said.

“Globally, approximately 20 per cent of the carbon dioxide we emit into the atmosphere comes from the way we choose to travel.”

Professor Newman said there are several components to low carbon transport that can help reduce carbon emissions around the world.

“We need to look at how we design our cities, which in Australia and many other parts of the world, are often car focused and lack suitable alternatives,” he said.
“Cities must be designed so that people no longer rely on their cars and are instead provided with a larger range of options of sustainable transport modes.

“We can change our travel behaviour through programs like TravelSmart, which was developed here in Perth and is now used in Europe and America.

“Cleaner forms of transport including plug-in electrical vehicles running on renewable energy are also vital to the reduction of climate change, as is an increased use of rail-based freight and freight running on natural gas.

Professor Newman said his appointment provided him with a rare opportunity to work on this significant global issue.

“My work at CUSP involves researching these areas and attempting to apply them here in Perth and across Australia,” he said.

“This appointment is a wonderful chance to be able to put these onto a global stage.”

The IPCC will be assessing all relevant options for mitigating climate change through limiting or preventing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing activities that remove them from the atmosphere. By doing this it provides policy makers with objective scientific and technical findings.

The 5th Assessment Report is intended to move from climate science to possible solutions to climate change. 
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