When the world gathered in France nearly six years ago to conclude the historic Paris Climate Agreement, we did so having already seen the consequences of a climate in flux. To all there, it was clear that urgent coordinated global action on climate change was necessary to secure the prosperity, security and wellbeing of future generations.
The international community stepped up to the challenge. Paris was a success because it brought us all together to consign the debates of "if" or "why" we should act to the past and set us all on a pathway towards a more sustainable future.
Glasgow is an important check-in moment for the Paris Agreement, and an opportunity to demonstrate the continued global momentum towards achieving its goals. Today, our work is to step up practical action worldwide and in doing so bring into relief how we will rapidly accelerate global emissions reductions, enable green growth and achieve the goals of the Agreement.
For Australia’s part, our experience with technology-orientated pathways gives us confidence that with the right investments and partnerships, a prosperous net-zero world is well within our reach.
On the ground, our real-world rollout of renewables has made clear to Australian firms and families the immense benefits of investing in clean technology. Because of their embrace of our new energy future, Australia’s emissions are down over 20 per cent on 2005 levels and green technology continues to be taken up at record levels right across our nation.
On the world stage, Australian investments continue to make an impact. Just last month I met with the Australian firm SunCable whose bold vision to harness our competitive advantage in solar energy will see them transmit clean energy from Australia first into Singapore and then ultimately across this growing region.
While I am immensely proud of Australia’s global leadership on low emissions technology, there remains significant work to be done on the next phase of our global decarbonisation challenge.
As the International Energy Agency has correctly identified – we must significantly increase the rate at which we deploy the low emissions technology solutions we have today. In heeding that call, Australia has committed to making more than $20 billion in investments in the clean technologies which we will need for net zero.
Secondly, for the many industries and sectors which are yet to see cost-competitive paths to a net zero future, we must co-invest in pathfinding them so we ensure a regular pipeline of solutions which are capable of cutting the green premium to bring them to cost-parity with higher-emissions incumbents.
These technology challenges and opportunities are not unique to Australia, and in the face of them, we believe the solution lies in partnerships grounded in expertise and trust as we work together to make net zero practically achievable for all countries.
That’s why, today, Australia’s Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor is joining with Secretary of State Kwasi Kwarteng to sign the first Letter of Intent on low emissions technology between Australia and the United Kingdom.
Concluding a wide-ranging deal on low emissions technology is important not only for research, development and investment, but for the confidence it affords us as we work toward a new way of powering our world in a way which preserves our character as free-market, liberal democratic nations.
We believe that by breaking down barriers to green trade and ensuring the free flow of the goods and people that make net zero happen, we can drive critical technologies down their cost curve and achieve our preferred vision for the future.
These are goals which are, of course, shared not only by our two nations but by many around the world and Australia looks forward to leading with the UK in multilateral forums to significantly accelerate the development and deployment of low emissions technology solutions globally.
To achieve that, we also know we need a secure and reliable supply of the critical minerals that enable high-abatement technologies to transform our world. Through this partnership, and the others recently agreed by Australia with Germany, Japan and Singapore, we are reflecting to the world our ambition not just for climate action but reliable and diversified supply chains for our energy future.
Net zero will be difficult. It will require an unprecedented mobilisation of capital, talent and grit to get there. Just as we have met challenges before I am confident that Australia and the United Kingdom will not only thrive in a net zero world but through deals like this truly define it for generations to come.
Originally published in The Telegraph.