CMI Summit Day 1: Climate leaders call for greater ambition from government and business

World leaders in climate action called on the ‘grand coalition’ of government and business to urgently step up their ambition to reduce carbon emissions as the Carbon Market Institute’s two-day Australasian Emissions Reduction Summit kicked off today, online and at the ICC Sydney.  

Today the Summit heard from government leaders, including Prime Minister of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama, NSW Treasurer and Minister for Energy and Environment, Matt Kean, business leaders including Shayne Elliot, ANZ CEO, decision makers and influencers who are grappling with the opportunities in the most critical economic transition in generations. 

CMI CEO John Connor said, “Our largest-ever Summit has come at a critical juncture as Australia looks ahead to a vital decade in climate action, and amid unprecedented investor, international and community scrutiny.” 

“We are now all citizens and professionals in a net-zero world, and governments, business and citizens need to find ways to act and demonstrate that we are climate and nature positive in our policies, commerce and investment. This Summit aims to inspire and catalyse stronger ambition in the journey to net zero, and includes a special focus on the 2030 scenarios and extra policies needed to get us there.” 

Today’s Speaker Highlights: 

Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji: 

“Fiji has called for a Grand Coalition to fight climate change, recognising that collaboration across borders and hemispheres and between economies and sectors was needed to tackle the climate crisis…Governments, of course, continue to play a major role. They have critical levers for change at their disposal. Businesses and the decision-makers that drive them also have direct ability to enact change.” 

“[Yet at COP26] many countries placed far too much emphasis on 2050, given that the best hope for limiting global average temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees is contingent on what we do between now and 2030. We would encourage Australia to reconsider the comments it made after COP26 that it would not revisit its 2030 targets. The opportunity to contest this vital tenet of the Glasgow Climate Pact was during COP26 not after it.”  

Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation:  

“Australia could be a world leader in green energy, and at the same time with all the precious natural resources you have, to protect them for tourism or for your [other] activities. You have enormous potential in job creation, understanding that it has to be carried on in a just way, in particular for the people and the regions affected by this shift from fossil fuel to renewable energy.” 

“The 2030 milestone is really important. It was a disappointment not to see Australia coming [to Glasgow] with a better target [than the one] announced in 2015 of a 26 to 28% emission reduction by 2030. And it was even more disappointing to see two days after the conclusion of COP26, that your prime minister walked back from the commitments made at Glasgow almost before the ink was dry.”  

Shayne Elliott, CEO, ANZ: 

“When we spoke to investors and customers three, four years ago, very much the tone was about all the things we’re not going to do as a bank. Now it’s about how we avoid stranded asset risk, those things which are very, very real and regulators are concerned, rightly, about – stress testing our portfolios and lending books in terms of what if things go wrong? What’s really shifted, and I think COP26 was a pivot point, is that the conversation is about the opportunity.” 

“There’s been this…realisation that in order to make the transition that is required and that everybody’s committed to, it needs finance and many, many trillions of dollars. Banks are a really critical element of that transition and are asking how are we going to responsibly lend and provide the capital that is needed towards that transition? And so that’s really quite a significant tonal shift in the conversation right across capital markets.” 

Frédéric Baudry, President, Australia, Senior VP Fuels & Low Carbon Solutions, Asia Pacific, BP 

“We’re looking very much at 2030, at originating a range of projects that will diversify the energy mix. The energy transition has begun. It’s relevant that we get started here in Asia. On the demand side Asia is 53% of global emissions, 82% of the urban population and two thirds of the growth, and the battle is likely to be won here. And on the supply side Australia is advantaged by an abundance of renewable energy sources and capability and know how”. 

“It will take market mechanisms and the right policy settings to continue incentivizing transition and those mechanisms will be essential to help stimulate demand and really bring the technologies that we are prepared to invest in down the cost curve.” 

Fiona Wild, VP, Sustainability & Climate Change, BHP: 

“We need to be super, super clear that we are doing what we say we’re doing. And so as litigation risk and reputational risk associated with that increases, it becomes much much more important to make sure there’s no misalignment between what you’re saying and what you’re doing. And it does change the process of disclosure inside an organization when you are scrutinizing to that level of detail.” 

“The way forward is about taking action, so go and do it. It is about partnership, working with others, and optimism that we can achieve what we want to achieve.” 

Chris Halliwell, Co-Founder and Head of Markets, Renewable Energy Hub: 

“I’m embracing technology and how it’s helping us to communicate our decarbonisation. To do this, we believe we need three key things. First one is data we need traceable transparent and high integrity data.  We need this timely and relevant data to set price signals, access capital, address climate risk disclosure and reporting and create liquid carbon markets.” 

“The second key function that we need from our tech will be to support wholesale and retail transaction services. So demystifying this carbon marketplace with software infrastructure, creating some efficiency, creating some price, transparency, removing all this information asymmetry about where real value actually is. The third key area for digital tools will be to help drive scalability, and mass utilisation. infrastructure for software takes the whole thing to scale through proliferating point of access to non partial customers.” 

James Schultz, CEO, GreenCollar: 

“The [carbon project] accounting has to stack up. It’s got to be transparent, it has to have integrity. I think one thing that people may not appreciate…if you’re on either the sell or the buy side of a carbon transaction, you’re the two organizations that have the highest interest in integrity, more than any other stakeholder around the table. Because if something goes wrong with those projects, you’re the two organisations that are accountable for the lack of integrity.” 

“From GreenCollar’s perspective, our ambition is to see these sorts of projects, environmental markets projects, on every farm in the country. That’s where we see we’re headed.” 

Noah Deich, President Carbon180 

“If we want to tackle the climate crisis, we must go beyond net zero to negative emissions. This means that we not only need to decouple emissions from economic growth, we’re going to have to start cleaning up carbon that remains in the atmosphere from historical emissions – the nearly 2 trillion tonnes of CO2 that have already been emitted as a result of fossil fuel use.” 

“We will need to remove almost as much carbon every year from the atmosphere, and sequester it, as we emit today”.  

Tomorrow’s program features Angus Taylor, Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction and Chris Bowen, Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy amongst other leaders from business, government and civil society. See program and register here

The Carbon Market Institute is the independent industry association for business leading the transition to net zero emissions. Its over 120 members include primary producers, carbon project developers, Indigenous corporations, legal and advisory services, insurers, banks and emission intensive industries developing decarbonisation and offset strategies. 

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