Energy & Resources: Decarbonisation & Divestment

Yesterday morning 2M CEO Tea Dietterich and Senior Project Manager Maïté René-Watts attended the Energy & Resources industry breakfast: Decarbonisation & Divestment organized by FACCI (French Australian Chamber of Industry & Commerce).

Chris Greig, Director, UQ Energy Initiative, & Director, Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation, gave an excellent presentation on the transition to a low carbon economy and what is really possible. Does Paris really change everything?

It was hailed as an historic agreement to limit climate change to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5º. For Chris Paris changed everything not because of the political commitment to keep temperature rise well below 2ºC but for the commitment to Mission Innovation. Recognising the challenge is enormous and urgent and that it cannot be achieved without massive transformation of the entire economy and requires new technological advances for which innovation is essential.

Chris also made 5 other key points on activists and divestment movement. The fossil energy reserves of corporations are unlikely to be stranded. Fossil energy companies are valued on their known economic reserves, not total resources. Publicly traded energy corporations own less than 20% of global fossil energy resources, so forced divestment actually might harm progress towards a 2 C future. Furthermore, large energy companies have been and will continue to be responsible for some of the biggest investments in renewable energy. He also mentioned that IEA and IPCC forecast that fossil fuel use will continue to be significant in 2050 and that carbon capture and storage (CCS) is crucial to meet our emissions reductions goals. Reducing emissions is our shared responsibility. Demonising these companies shields everyday Australians from the collective obligation to increase energy efficiency and reduce national carbon emissions.

CO2
With a global budget for CO2 equivalent emissions already set following the Paris Accord at COP21, opportunities are emerging for the energy innovators. The speakers went on to discuss research and application of Carbon Capture and Storage and negative emissions technologies including Bio-energy with carbon capture and storage.

The next Energy & Resources industry breakfast is scheduled for October on Foreign investment in Australia’s Oil & Gas sector, followed by the Industry Forum 2016 on November 8th: Australia’s global exports, the implications 1 year after COP21.

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