A leading Australian business group is calling for the two biggest economic challenges in memory – recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and cutting greenhouse gas emissions – to be tackled together, saying it will increase growth and put the country on a long-term solid footing.
Innes Willox, chief executive of the Australian Industrial Group, represented more than 60,000 businesses, said the economic recovery from viruses and the transitions needed to meet net-zero emissions by 2050 are overlapping problems that must be taken together.
“There is much we can do to rebuild a stronger and cleaner one,” Willox plans to say on Tuesday, according to a speech released earlier.
“The need is urgent. Covid-19 and climate outweigh any economic challenges we have faced in the last century. “
Willox is among a group of community leaders and industry groups who are urging the government to support climate solutions in pandemic recovery rather than projects that take root or increase emissions.
They include Investor Agenda, a group of investors and global institutional managers with members responsible for assets worth more than US $ 55tn. In a statement released on Monday, it said that the government should avoid prioritizing “risk-intensive short-term emission projects”, and that accelerating the transition to net zero emissions could create jobs and significant economic growth while increasing energy security and clean air .
“The path we choose in the coming months will have significant consequences for our global economy and future generations,” said the group, which includes the Australian Investors Group on Climate Change, said.
In Australia, the vision for a “clean recovery” or “renewable stimulus” will be the focus of two online industry summits this week. Speakers included Queensland’s prime minister, Annastacia Palaszczuk, and energy ministers from four countries.
The summit’s emphasis is different from the energy minister and emission reduction, Angus Taylor, who has supported gas, fossil fuels, as a key to encouraging recovery after a falling global oil and gas prices.
John Grimes, chief executive of the Smart Energy Council, yang hold a summit on Wednesday, said the country needed to overcome the current economic crisis and climate crisis at the same time or it would “shift from one big problem to another”.
“This is Australia’s moment to modernize and grow the economy, create hundreds of thousands of new jobs that hold the future and place Australia as a global renewable energy superpower,” Grimes said.
Willox plans to tell a separate forum organized by the Clean Energy Council on Tuesday that last summer’s wildfires had become a preview of what would happen because of climate change. His speech notes that a successful energy transition must leave anyone and go beyond the generation of electricity to include heavy industry, transportation, agriculture, buildings “and more”.
“There is a large scope for reform and investment to support that transition, and starting during the crisis will contribute to a faster recovery,” he said.
He said industry groups had consulted extensively on “the most constructive direction for recovery and transition”. Enhanced opportunities include: improving energy management in homes and buildings by incorporating drafts, modernizing equipment and supporting local electricity generation and storage; improve electricity grids by launching smart meters and moving edge-of-grid customers to mini-grids; help shift heavy industries to use clean electricity and hydrogen; and supports large and small energy storage.
Regarding transportation, Willox said this was the right time to prepare the city and main corridors for mass collection of electric vehicles by installing or preparing charging points at service stations, in public and government parking lots, and in apartment blocks.
He said the government would have different preferences on whether to use regulatory reform, tax incentives, grants or other approaches. Providing examples of electricity, he said, establishing a good long-term design for market regulation and climate policy can do many things to increase investment in direct public financial support.
A report by the Clean Energy Council, also released on Tuesday, estimates that 50,000 construction and 4,000 ongoing work can be created, and renewable electricity and storage projects worth $ 50 billion are built, if the government supports green policies and regulatory reforms to ” start “economy.
He said he would need help to overcome the policies and grid transmission roadblocks that caused large-scale wind and solar investment to fall by 50% last year, changes in electricity market rules so that the full benefits of energy storage were reflected and support for renewable hydrogen.
On a smaller scale, that means the government is removing barriers for tenants, low-income households and community groups that install diesel fuel and support home batteries by reducing costs or offering low-interest loans.
Kane Thornton, chief executive of the Clean Energy Council, said there were hundreds of large-scale wind and solar projects with planning agreements that could proceed quickly, create jobs and reduce prices.
“This is not about flyers for industry when the government directs scarce taxpayer funds to services and other important fields,” Thornton said.
“There is a great desire for private investment in clean energy that can be unlocked through smart regulatory reforms, reasonable energy policies, and investments in electricity networks and energy storage.”
The International Energy Agency last week reported a “surprising” decline in global demand for coal, oil and gas during the pandemic, by only renewable electricity proved to be tough.