On 25th May, the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC), who are a member group of institutional investors (organisations that control a lot of investment funds like your superannuation) with $2 trillion under management; released a joint statement with a bunch of other organisations that represent pretty much the whole of Australian society.
The statement was a direct appeal to government to build a stronger and cleaner post COVID country. It seems that after diligently being good citizens and doing as requested - spending the last few months strictly travelling between the bed, sofa and bath to stay healthy, the Australian government has other plans for our future health.
We didn't take ourselves and our guns to the streets; we mostly co-operated, stayed home and kept the COVID-19 pandemic from killing thousands of us, unlike other parts of the world. Unlike other parts of the world, it now looks like we are set to go straight back to being one of the biggest carbon emitters on the planet, doing very little at all to support the changes we need to reduce global warming, despite the fact that we sit poised with more opportunity than ever - to change right now.
We may have been saved from the pandemic, only to be committed to a course of action that opens the door, to the end of us all - or at least our children.
While organisations and governments around the world are advocating using economic stimulus measures to push towards a greener economy, the Australian government seems to think that adding some renewables into essentially the same old energy mix bag and labelling it COVID-19 green recovery package, that will be green enough.
As newly minted experts in this area, we of course know it to be same fossil fuel shit, with some different toilet paper.
The IGCC joined a diverse group of entities, representing every sector of Australian society, to appeal to the government to build a stronger and cleaner post-pandemic Australia.
The appeal comes from the obvious climate suspects like Australian Conservation Foundation, Carbon Markets Institute, Energy Efficiency Council, Energy Users' Association of Australia, Investor Group on Climate Change, WWF Australia through NFPs supporting causes - Australian Council of Social Service, Brotherhood of St Laurence, St Vincent de Paul Society, Unions - Australian Council of Trade Unions, Australian Industry Group, Business - Business Council of Australia, and Workers - Master Electricians Australia, Property Council of Australia.
In essence, the diverse organisations together call for support for COVID economic recovery to urgently stimulate jobs and to rebuild a sustainable and strong economy. The statement is reproduced below and you can see that the group has resorted to giving specific examples of opportunity. Which makes you wonder just who the government is actually consulting with?
Australia faces a public health emergency with immediate economic impacts as well as longer-lasting global economic pain. Beyond the pandemic, Australian prosperity also depends on dealing with other long-term challenges – including the transition to net zero emissions. Economic recovery efforts can and should contribute to addressing these long term challenges. Our organisations encourage governments to bolster their jobs and recovery strategies with measures to reduce emissions and accelerate successful energy transitions across all Australia’s regions and economic sectors.There are many opportunities. One particularly promising area for investment is better energy efficiency and energy management. Useful upgrades could be made across Australia’s private and public housing; commercial, community and government buildings; and industrial facilities. Improvements could include more efficient and controllable appliances and major equipment, especially for heating and cooling; improved thermal envelopes and shading; smart meters and sub-metering; distributed energy generation and storage; fuel switching; and the equipment, training and external advice needed for better energy management.
The International Energy Agency has highlighted that energy efficiency upgrades are job-intensive and strongly support economic stimulus goals. In Australia, a major drive to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and industry could deliver over 120,000 job-years of employment. Support for upgrades and new construction of public, low income and vulnerable housing would also help those most affected by pandemic restrictions and lift their purchasing power.
SUPPORT FOR UPGRADES AND NEW CONSTRUCTION OF PRIVATE HOUSING WOULD ALSO CAPITALISE ON PEOPLE’S RENEWED INTEREST IN IMPROVING THEIR HOMES, DRIVING ADDITIONAL PRIVATE INVESTMENT. SUPPORT FOR COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL EFFICIENCY WOULD CUT OPERATING COSTS AND MAKE INVESTMENT AND EMPLOYMENT EASIER TO SUSTAIN.
Positive examples to build on include:
Governments should also look for other options that can support economic recovery and energy transition. The Federal and State Governments should integrate recovery plans with their respective clean technology roadmaps and long term emissions strategies, grid modernisation planning, carbon farming development and bushfire recovery to build greater resilience and reduce climate risk.
INVESTMENTS WILL WORK BEST WITH CAREFUL DESIGN AND DISCUSSION WITH REGULATORS, BUSINESS AND THE COMMUNITY. EQUITY AND ACCESSIBILITY ARE ESSENTIAL TO ENSURE THAT THE MOST VULNERABLE BENEFIT FULLY.
We are confident that smart, swift and sustained responses can speed the recovery and put Australia’s future growth on stronger foundations.
Images: Unsplash | United Nations except IGCC & Joint Statement logos