We’re into the ultimate fortnight of the election marketing campaign, and commentators have famous that local weather change has been nearly invisible. That is regardless of the most recent IPCC report in April calling for pressing motion to keep away from catastrophic local weather change.
So what would a optimistic imaginative and prescient for Australia as a local weather chief appear like?
Scorched dystopia or habitable planet? Right here’s the place the local weather insurance policies of our political hopefuls will take us
Quick-forward 8 years
Think about it’s 2030. Australia is a renewable vitality superpower serving to meet Southeast Asia’s vitality wants. It exports renewable vitality through cable from northern Australia and ships inexperienced hydrogen first from Queensland and Tasmania, after which from throughout the nation.
It’s a important exporter of inexperienced commodities – such inexperienced metal produced with renewable vitality – and the important minerals utilized in renewable expertise comparable to photo voltaic panels and electrical autos. It really works carefully with the area on local weather danger evaluation and catastrophe preparedness.
Appear fanciful? Not essentially.
Southeast Asia’s wants
Southeast Asian international locations are extremely uncovered to the results of local weather change, with ASEAN score Southeast Asia as one of many world’s most at-risk areas. Southeast Asia is already experiencing the rising depth and magnitude of maximum climate occasions together with flash floods, forest fires, landslides and cyclones – and the financial, environmental and social injury they trigger.
In an period of local weather disasters, Australia must keep away from getting caught in a spiral of merely responding to occasions. As one of many main safety threats of this century, we all know local weather change is a large problem for Australia’s strategic and international coverage. However it is usually a possibility.
Southeast Asian international locations will more and more be in search of renewable vitality sources, inexperienced commodities, important minerals and related applied sciences and infrastructure, with international locations as numerous as Singapore, Vietnam and Cambodia and Laos all setting up nationwide inexperienced progress plans.
Australia must be able to facilitate this. It has a serious aggressive benefit due to its renewable vitality sources.
One supplier, Solar Cable, estimates its undersea cable from Darwin may present as much as 15% of Singapore’s electrical energy provide.
Australia’s pure endowment of nickel, copper, lithium and cobalt are important to the event of photo voltaic panels and electrical autos (which in flip can result in job creation in uncooked supplies, technological growth and repair supply).
IPCC says the instruments to cease catastrophic local weather change are in our fingers. Here is learn how to use them
Southeast Asian international locations are in search of companions of their vitality transition not simply inside ASEAN however amongst different international locations. Australia’s latest inexperienced economic system agreements with Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam reveal this. However there are different international locations who may additionally reap the benefits of this market. For instance, main gamers in hydrogen embrace Japan, Korea, China and Germany.
There are obstacles to beat
To realize this, Australia might want to overcome ambivalence and inconsistency round local weather and vitality coverage. This has led to uncertainty for vitality market operators that means they’ll’t plan and decide to main tasks.
In lots of Southeast Asian international locations, there are additionally vested pursuits and political calculations that create obstacles. For instance, there are robust political incentives to subsidise fossil fuels in some international locations that need to be managed, as Indonesia did when it scrapped petrol subsidies.
Discovering methods for many who at the moment profit from fossil gasoline to learn from renewables could also be vital to assist them transition.
Local weather change is a safety menace the federal government retains ignoring. We’ll present up empty handed to yet one more international summit
A window of alternative
There’s a window of alternative for Australia to turn out to be actively concerned in influencing Southeast Asian economies in the direction of sustainable infrastructure and renewable vitality sources.
Australia may use blended finance – the place growth finance attracts personal finance – to assist funding. For instance, blended finance into Indonesia’s rising automobile battery trade may assist it turn out to be a worldwide electrical car manufacturing hub, each securing a important tech provide chain and increasing export markets for Australian lithium.
Authorities has a job in compiling and selling up-to-date assessments of regional wants and Australia’s alternative to produce these, together with in important minerals, inexperienced metal, inexperienced aluminium and hydrogen. As trade turns into extra conscious of the alternatives for Australian renewable exports, the amount will rise.
Australia must also work with regional our bodies on associated coverage points, together with requirements, certification and regulation and with Southeast Asian governments on coverage creation and regulation. Australian can share its experience round vitality market design to help with growth of a region-wide ASEAN electrical energy market.
The pathways are there for Australia to be a major associate to attain the worldwide purpose of internet zero by 2050 in Southeast Asia, a area that will probably be a litmus check for the remainder of the world.
As Asia faces local weather change upheaval, how will Australia reply?
Melissa Conley Tyler is Program Lead on the Asia-Pacific Improvement, Diplomacy & Defence Dialogue (AP4D). This analysis relies on a report "What does it appear like for Australia to be a Companion in Local weather Management in Southeast Asia?" funded by the Australian Civil-Navy Centre. Due to all these concerned in consultations to supply this report.