Australia has a once-in-a-century economic opportunity to become a global clean energy powerhouse, a new Climate Council report says.
The Climate Council’s new report Climate Allies: Australia, the United States and the Global Energy Shift comes as world leaders, including Anthony Albanese and US President Joe Biden, prepare for the upcoming G7 Summit in Japan this weekend, where climate change will be squarely on the agenda.
The Summit presents an opportunity for Australia to show its commitment to climate action and its potential as a green energy superpower.
“Yes, President Biden cancelling his Australian visit is disappointing. But it doesn’t change the urgency of tackling climate change. This weekend Prime Minister Albanese and President Biden are expected to have a bilateral meeting to discuss accelerating the energy transition. We need to rise to this moment,” Dr Wesley Morgan, the Climate Council’s Senior Researcher and report author said.
“Australia and the US are longtime security allies, and climate action is the newest pillar of the US-Australia alliance as both countries tackle the security and geopolitical implications of climate change.”
The report highlights the significance of America’s game-changing Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a massive AU$520 billion package designed to stimulate investment in renewable energy infrastructure and clean energy manufacturing. The package is America’s largest climate spend in history, and is as big as a quarter of Australia’s entire GDP.
It outlines why close collaboration is vital to shore up Australia’s national interests in the Indo-Pacific region, and maintain access to clean energy resources, critical minerals and equipment, while also reducing dependence on China.
Dr Morgan said Australia has an opportunity to reinforce our climate allyship with the US and seize the multibillion-dollar economic opportunity the IRA presents for Australia.
“We absolutely should be a major supplier of critical minerals and renewable energy components to the US, but as it stands, the European Union, Japan, and Korea are all moving faster than us to boost their clean energy capabilities. If we don’t pick up the pace, we will be passing up the opportunity of a generation.”
While the Australian Government has invested in a number of worthy programs such as the National Reconstruction Fund, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, and the recent $2 billion plan to support the development of a renewable hydrogen industry, the size and scale of these programs are dwarfed by the initiatives being rolled out by the US and other major economies.
“The US Inflation Reduction Act is a climate action game-changer. If we don’t want other countries to eat our lunch, we absolutely have to act fast to pass a major suite of initiatives to develop green export industries to replace fossil fuel exports.”
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