9 August 2023

Landmark decarbonsation event for net zero

The transition to net zero will be a global transformation. For Australia and Japan, it is a unique opportunity to redefine a decades-long economic partnership.

That was one of the key takeaways from the Decarbonising Australia Business Summit held in Sydney on 26–27 July.

Over 2 days, over 600 corporate and government representatives and the research community heard subject matter experts and industry leaders discuss the enormity of the challenge.

Attendees heard that there will be multiple solutions and opportunities running in parallel as the old is replaced with new and better clean energy options.

Innovation and the right partnership models will be essential. The summit demonstrated that Australia and Japan are both committed to finding paths forward.

Australia is set to be a key global player in exporting hydrogen, ammonia and critical minerals to meet our own carbon emissions reduction. Japan will not only be a beneficiary but will help co-create these industries.

Walking the path to net zero together

The summit saw 175 representatives from 90 Japanese companies and a similar number of Australian companies converge at the University of Technology Sydney.

Joined by Australian federal and state government officials and researchers, the goal of the summit was to strengthen collaboration between the nations on the road to net zero.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen, Minister for Trade Don Farrell and Assistant Minister for Trade Tim Ayres addressed the audience. They spoke on Australia’s determined position to become a renewable energy superpower.

Minister Bowen welcomed Inpex’s significant investment in Enel Green Power Australia and Japanese investment in the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain project. Minister Bowen also outlined the Australian industrial decarbonisation policy, designed to provide investor certainty to 2030 and beyond. He also mentioned the National Electric Vehicle Strategy, designed to increase the supply and uptake of ‘cleaner cars’ in Australia.

The Secretary of the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW), David Fredericks, also attended the Summit. He outlined the Australian Government’s recent policy initiatives and reforms to enable Australia to become a renewable energy superpower. Japan’s Sydney Consul-General Tokuda provided remarks on behalf of the Japanese Government.

Assistant Minister for Trade Tim Ayres commented:

‘The Australia–Japan friendship and strategic partnership is our closest and most mature in Asia,’ he said. ‘It is fundamental to both nations’ strategic and economic interests, including a safe, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.

‘Not only is Japan Australia’s second largest trading partner but it also ranks second for foreign investment.’

Austrade’s CEO Xavier Simonet and Deputy CEO, Philippa King, both spoke at the summit.

Austrade’s General Manager Northeast Asia, Elizabeth Cox, said: ‘The overwhelming and unprecedented turnout by both Australian and Japanese business leaders is evidence that we have all the critical elements in place to work on finding solutions to net zero: the right timing, willing partners and across-the-board agreement that this undertaking will define the next phase in the Australia-Japan economic relationship.’

A group of male and female business people standing shoulder to shoulder. L-R: Ellen Goh (UTS), Shuichi Tokuda (Consulate-General of Japan), Glenn Whightwick (UTS), Sen. Tim Ayres (Assistant Minister for Trade), Xavier Simonet (Austrade), Tim Harcourt (UTS), Elizabeth Cox (Austrade), Peter Horn (Austrade) L-R: Leo Mian Liu (UTS), Ellen Goh (UTS), Shuichi Tokuda (Consulate-General of Japan), Glenn Whightwick (UTS), Sen. Tim Ayres (Assistant Minister for Trade), Xavier Simonet (Austrade), Tim Harcourt (UTS), Elizabeth Cox (Austrade), Peter Horn (Austrade)

Opportunities for Australia–Japan partnerships

The attendees explored opportunities for commercial partnerships across clean energy, research and technology. The aim is to accelerate progress towards carbon emission reduction goals while growing the green economy.

Industry panels and policy presentations explored the future of hydrogen and ammonia, carbon capture, sustainable aviation fuels and green steel.

These conversations were steered by expert facilitators and presenters from Boeing, CSIRO, Deloitte, JERA, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Qantas. The New South Wales, South Australian, Northen Territory and ACT Governments also shared their decarbonising agendas with the delegation.

Takayuki Watanabe, the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Head for Australia, New Zealand & the Pacific Islands said: ‘The summit provided a great opportunity for Australia and Japan to find new ways to work together on decarbonisation efforts to boost our green economy.’

In 2021, Japanese companies invested $1.8 billion into Australian decarbonisation projects and related research and development. Austrade research shows 96% of 220 large Japanese companies cite achieving decarbonisation as critical to their current and future business operations.

The pathway is known: businesses and scientists have been planning for this transition for years. Now that the Australian Government has enshrined its net zero targets into law, it is time to pick up the pace. The Summit demonstrated that Japan is coming along for the journey.

Find out more about opportunities in Australia’s energy and resources sector.

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