WHILE Australia’s climate change policy ranked last in the latest Climate Change Performance Index, a new report has identified six clean export opportunities to help Australia take the lead.
The annual CCPI measures the performance of 60 countries on greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy, energy use and climate policy.
The report criticised Australia’s inaction and “lack of domestic ambition” on climate change policy while highlighting the critical need for Australia to improve its standing in the global transition to net zero.
“Even though the renewables electricity is growing, experts believe that Australia has failed to take advantage of its potential, and other countries have outpaced it,” the report stated.
The BCA, ACTU, ACF and WWF Australia commissioned and recently released a report by Accenture, Sunshot: Australia’s opportunity to create 395,000 clean export jobs, detailing how Australia can take a leading position and prepare businesses and workers for the future.
The report specifies six opportunities in clean energy and technologies that can accelerate Australia’s growth in the low emissions economy, with the potential to create 395,000 new jobs by 2040.
Renewable hydrogen and ammonia, green metals, critical minerals, battery manufacturing, education and training and engineering, ICT and consulting services are identified as export prospects in the report.
Looking at education and training, the international education sector is Australia’s fourth largest export and represents a huge opportunity to respond to the growing demand for skills and expertise in climate change and sustainability
“Australia has the opportunity to double down on its investment in clean energy related research and education to train a workforce that will be required to scale new clean industries globally,” the report stated.
Under green metals, the report emphasizes Australia’s advantages in producing green steel.
Green steel uses hydrogen, rather than coal to produce steel, and with an abundance of wind and solar resources in Australia, the country is well placed to take advantage of this opportunity.
Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott said early action is critical, with Australia’s “biggest trading partners already making this transition”.
“Acting now puts us in the box seat to take advantage of our world class skills, abundant resources and proximity to markets to secure existing jobs and create new ones,” Ms Westacott said.
These industries offer the opportunity to create jobs in both rural areas and major cities around Australia, with the majority of jobs in mining, manufacturing and professional services.
They will be accessible by workers across all levels of skill and education with an almost equal division of jobs requiring a Bachelor, a Certificate III and no post-school qualifications.
To improve Australia’s low ranking by next year’s CCPI, decisive and co-ordinated action and investment are needed to place Australia in a leading position.
Australian Council of Trade Unions President Michele O’Neil said strong leadership is critical to secure these industries.
“We need leadership from the Federal Government to develop a national clean exports strategy with clear targets and credible policies,” she said.
“It’s not a choice between jobs and the environment, it’s a responsibility to act on both.”