Bryan Clark, CEO ICC Australia, discusses how Australia is addressing climate change
Australia is an island of climate extremes, with renowned natural wonders and vast resources. Climate change is a dramatic threat to all we cherish, which is why Australia is playing a significant part in global action to avoid the adverse impacts of a warmer planet.
Climate change is a global issue that needs global solutions and, hence, actions by all nations. Solving this global challenge can only be achieved through the open exchange of ideas, access to technologies and the movement of skilled people.
Australia remains on track and is determined to make and keep its carbon emissions reduction commitments.
Australian business is working collaboratively with Government across a broad front of environmental approaches including technological solutions to address climate change and reduce emissions.
Australia is at the forefront of transitioning to a renewable energy economy
Businesses are also forging ahead with their own policies and actions to complement those of Government. Together, the public and private sectors are acting to meet Australia’s commitments under the Paris Agreement. Australia has:
- embraced household solar power systems, with the highest adoption in the globe on a per capital basis – about 16.5% of Australian households.
- a private sector driving investment in renewable energy, including
- plans for the world’s largest battery storage system in the NSW Hunter Valley
- plans for the world’s largest grid connected solar energy supply into SE Asia via the world’s longest submarine cable from Nth Australia
- leading businesses and major industries with net-zero-by-2050 targets, including airlines, agriculture, and mining.
- all State Governments committing to policies to achieve net-zero by 2050.
- A Federal Government aiming to achieve net-zero as soon as possible, “preferably by 2050”.
- Australia’s agricultural sector is leading the way in utilising renewables and delivering low emission outcomes.
- Our water and waste water authorities are also at world’s best practice in their practical strategies to address the impact of climate change in their operations.
Australia is at the forefront of transitioning to a renewable energy economy. We have already seen large investment in commercial wind and solar generation, as well as a high uptake of residential roof top solar. This investment will continue to grow the share of renewable energy in meeting our electricity demand.
We also have an abundance of resources needed to supply the raw materials essential to producing batteries. The Government is committed to producing, commercialising and scaling green hydrogen, which has massive investment potential. Australia’s hydrogen industry alone is expected to attract over AUD6 Trillion in investment in the near term.
Our ability to harness investment in renewable energy, batteries and green hydrogen, positions Australia well for increasing the electrification of the economy and assisting other nations with their transitions.
Despite the positive outlook, challenges lie ahead.
Australian business is very concerned about the possibility of border carbon adjustments. Not only do policies such as this constrain nations in drawing on their comparative advantage to address climate change, they increase the risk of trade tensions at a time when free and open trade is most needed. Australia has long advocated for the removal of barriers to trade in environmental goods and market distorting measures, encouraging fossil fuel consumption in line with the 2006 G20 agreement. A resumption of negotiations and conclusion of the WTO Environmental Goods Agreement is essential for free trade and a priority for Australian businesses.
We need fewer restrictions on enterprise and trade, not more, if we are to enable businesses to play their part in reducing emissions. The scale of the challenge we all face is immense, but it is essential Governments continue to work closely with business to develop economy-wide plans. Together we can find solutions and capture opportunities from the application of science, innovation and technology.