High Commissioner's remarks for panel discussion
The Government Perspective: Policies and Tools to Support Climate Investment
30 November, 2017 IFC Climate Business Forum 2017
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Thank you Alzbeta; good morning to my fellow panellists, Ambassador Kozlowski and Dr Roy.
Good morning everyone. I am delighted to be here this morning. Climate change is a topic that is close to my heart, having worked in Australia’s federal Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency for several years previously.
I can’t think of a better location for this year’s Climate Business Forum, than India. India is really at the leading edge. Prime Minister Modi has placed climate change at the core of India’s development plans and this is already yielding impressive results, especially in the area of renewable energy generation. The Indian Government has committed to ambitious national climate targets, and has put in place a policy framework that incentivises and supports initiatives on climate action.
For example, the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency’s education campaigns include a program to distribute and subsidise LED bulbs, or the ‘Lighting a Billion Lives’ partnership; Dr Rathin Roy may say more about these.
The role of public policy in climate investment
Public policy can be a constraining or empowering influence on climate business activity. In Australia, the energy policy environment has been able to deliver growth opportunities for climate business, while meeting best practice environmental standards and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. What we have effectively done is to put place policy and regulatory frameworks that enable, and incentivise, private sector investment in climate solutions.
I’m sure you have all heard about the Tesla Company’s recent achievement in South Australia. Tesla has built a 100 Mega Watt lithium ion battery – the most powerful battery in the world. The battery is charged by renewable energy from the Hornsdale Wind Farm, owned by Neoen [Neo-en], a private sector energy provider in South Australia. This exciting achievement is testament to the kinds of climate solutions that the private sector can deliver, when enabled by a policy and regulatory environment than supports innovation and investment.
Australia’s domestic climate policies
The Australian Government has comprehensive national policies in place to reduce domestic emissions and increase energy efficiency, reliability and security. For example:
- The $2.5 billion Emissions Reduction Fund, which is helping Australian farmers and businesses reduce emissions, while generating new income streams;
- The National Energy Productivity Plan, to improve Australia’s energy productivity by 40 per cent between 2015 and 2030; and
- The Renewable Energy Target, which will increase renewable energy to around 23 per cent of Australia’s electricity by 2020.
Like India, Australia has adopted a strong focus on renewable energy. Australia has world-class technology in this area and India has a very ambitious renewables agenda, underpinned by the generation target of 175 Giga Watts of renewable energy by 2022. Within this, solar energy is the key focus. Australia applauds India’s vision and leadership of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
Australia’s international engagement on climate change
Australia has also incorporated climate change into our international engagement, with a focus on mobilising private sector finance.
In fact, catalysing private sector investment is key to ensuring sustainable and successful climate solutions.
Through our aid program, we are investing over $1 billion in climate finance over five years, to reduce emissions and build climate resilience in developing countries in the Indo-Pacific. For us that means small Pacific islands that are so vulnerable to climate change.
One example of Australia’s international climate programs is the Private Finance Advisory Network (PFAN), which helps businesses mobilise financing for clean energy projects in the Asia Pacific region. Projects have focused on biogas, biomass, waste-to-energy, clean transport, wind, solar, small hydro and energy efficiency.
Australia is also a strong supporter of multilateral climate initiatives, including as co-Chair of the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The GCF has approved funding proposals totalling 2.5 billion US dollars for projects and programs supporting private sector climate investment.
Australia-India collaboration on climate change
International collaboration on innovative climate policy and technology is important to enable countries like India to ‘leapfrog’ to best practice policy approaches and the latest, most efficient climate technologies.
For Australia and India, I think there is great scope for collaboration on renewables, including on policy frameworks, performance standards and regulatory environments; as well as research and development of new renewable technologies.
One such area for R&D collaboration is battery storage technology, which will be the next ‘breakthrough’ area in renewable energy adoption. On this topic, I would like to recognise Ecoult, a company that develops energy storage solutions. Ecoult commercialised the UltraBattery technology, which was developed by the Australian Government’s peak science body, CSIRO. Ecoult has been selected to partner with the Indian Institute for Transformative Technologies, to bring low-emissions power and energy storage to rural and remote communities in India. Mr John Wood, the CEO of Ecoult, participated in one of the panel sessions yesterday. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr Wood this morning.
Opportunities in Climate Smart business
The opportunities presented by climate markets are vast. The low emissions global economy is estimated at 6 trillion US dollars, with an annual growth rate of 4-5 per cent. There are markets across every sector: agriculture; water; infrastructure; transport; energy of course. And we should not forget that there are strong linkages between most of these sectors – for example, water is intrinsically linked to energy and food production.
In agribusiness, there is a need to build more climate-resilient food production systems, which will be achieved through increased water and energy efficiency.
Similarly, the foundation for India’s smart cities is efficient and sustainable management of resources.
The Partnership for Cleaner Textiles (PaCT) program in Bangladesh has helped textile factories to increase profits, by implementing resource-efficient production processes. The PaCT program focused on reducing the water consumption of textile factories, and has achieved savings of 2.16 billion litres a year; and significantly reduced wastewater pollution. The program also delivered significant energy and emissions savings: 2.5 million Mega Watt hours of energy and over 460,000 tonnes of Carbon dioxide emissions avoided, per year.
In addition to the obvious benefits to the environment – and to the communities of textile workers – it’s been very good for business, saving factories costs of 16.3 million US dollars per year. I am delighted that Australia, through the IFC, is supporting PaCT.
I’ll leave it there for now – thank you.