Australia has strong natural advantages in becoming a renewable superpower, but more than advantage is needed to succeed, according to a joint statement from the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group), Australian Conservation Foundation, Australian Council of Trade Unions, Investor Group on Climate Change, and WWF-Australia.
The group said on Monday that – in light of major decisions being considered by the federal government on a “renewable superpower strategy” – the global transition to net zero offered substantial and broadly shared economic and jobs opportunities for the nation.
“Superpower success will take many years of planning, investment and hard work. This will require cooperation from across the Federation, business, unions, and the community. There is a window of opportunity to unlock maximum global capital and foster the skills and supply chains we will need,” the statement reads.
“The Australian Government should act now with a comprehensive set of policy tools, including but not limited to financial and/or tax incentives, that are equal to the immense opportunities and risks confronting us.”
A net zero world needs things such as the clean manufacturing of essential energy-intensive products like aluminium, alumina, ammonia, cement, fertiliser, iron and steel; scalable, firm, competitively-priced renewable energy; componentry, infrastructure and appliances; and responsibly-extracted minerals to enable the above.
While Australia has opportunities in each area, “There is no pathway to successful transition, let alone renewable superpower status, without immense and efficient construction”, according to the group, and “a historic step-change in supportive policy and investment” and more were needed.
Other economies, including the USA, Europe and Canada have enacted substantial financial incentives and other supportive policies in service of their respective net zero transitions.
Though significant clean economy initiatives had been enacted, much as the Safeguards Mechanism, without further “globally competitive, proportional and smartly targeted incentives of our own,” Australia will miss out.
Picture: credit Fortescue