Chief Executive Insights

The benefits for Australia beyond emissions for NET ZERO

David Banger

‘Globalisation will make our societies more creative and prosperous, but also more vulnerable.’ – Lord Robertson

The Australian government’s commitment to reach net-zero means that by 2050, the amount of carbon dioxide Australia is removing from the atmosphere will have to be the same as, or more than, the amount it is emitting. The plan is to invest more than $20 billion in “low emissions technologies” in the next decade. Green hydrogen is likely to play a role. It is the most common element in the universe, and the challenge unresolved is how it can be transported.

Some background… 

According to the 2020 Climate Change Performance Index, Australia is the sixth worst performing country of the fifty-seven countries assessed (across four key categories of emissions, renewable energy, energy use and climate policy), trailing behind a long list of less developed nations including Thailand, Indonesia, Algeria and Kazakhstan.

In 2019, Sweden’s central bank said it had sold off bonds from Australia and Queensland because it felt that Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions were too high. Sweden topped the charts in the 2020 Climate Change Performance Index. In the report, Sweden was commended for its strong climate policy framework, including its 2045 net-zero emission target (previously set for 2050), the world’s highest carbon tax and a 100 per cent renewable energy target by 2040.

Research linked to an optimistic future…

The Australian National Outlook 2019, produced by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in conjunction with the National Australia Bank, includes an optimistic picture of Australia’s future. The report combines CSIRO modelling and research with insights from more than fifty leaders across twenty-two leading Australian organisations.

‘The research argues that it is possible to achieve higher GDP per capita (as much as 36%), while ensuring growth is inclusive and environmentally sustainable. In a global context, strong co-operation on climate change and trade can deliver a better outcome for Australia without significantly impacting our economic growth, where before it may have been thought impossible.’

For this to happen, five core shifts are required in the following areas:

  • Industry – to enable a productive, inclusive and resilient economy, with new strengths in both the domestic and export sectors.
  • Urban – to enable well-connected, affordable cities that offer more equal access to quality jobs, lifestyle amenities, education and other services.
  • Energy – to manage Australia’s transition to a reliable, affordable, low-emissions energy economy that builds on Australia’s existing sources of comparative advantage.
  • Land – to create a profitable and sustainable mosaic of food, fibre and fuel production, carbon sequestration and biodiversity.
    Culture – to encourage more engagement, curiosity, collaboration and solutions, and which should be supported by inclusive civic and political institutions.

Benefiting and inspiring future generations.


Written by David Banger.

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David Banger
David Banger is an adjunct professor, digital advisor and founder of CHANGE lead | Practical Digital. David works with organisations, their executive and technology teams to realise their digital potential. He is the author of DIGITAL IS EVERYONE’S BUSINESS | A guide to transition ($38.88). David Banger is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine.