Business momentum and technological leapfrogs… towards a low carbon Australian economy

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An interview with Anna Skarbek, Executive Director, ClimateWorks Australia  

As Executive Director of ClimateWorks Australia, a non-profit collaboration between Monash University and The Myer Foundation, Anna has overseen the development of a range of technical briefing papers, detailed reports and low carbon transition plans, including the national scale Low Carbon Growth Plan for Australia, released in 2010 and updated in 2011.

That plan identified 54 emission reduction opportunities available to different sectors of the Australian economy, using a McKinsey cost curve to prioritise actions according to the level of emissions they could reduce and their cost-effectiveness.

Anna is currently also a member of the Land Sector Carbon and Biodiversity Board, the Australian Government’s NGO Roundtable on Climate Change and a director of the Carbon Market Institute, Sustainable Melbourne Fund, Thermometer Foundation for Social Research on Climate Change and Linking Melbourne Authority.

Amid all this, we were lucky to catch up with her to talk about key messages from the Low Carbon Growth Plan – which she says can be neatly distilled into three main categories for action: energy efficiency, sustainable land use and clean power.

We spoke about the ClimateWorks Australia approach, which directs its attention primarily to businesses and entrepreneurs responsible for the key investment and technological decisions capable of driving the transition to a low carbon economy. Anna emphasises the need to ‘walk before you run’ and stay focused on achievable actions.

I know I could join a room of 100 people like us who would fill three days in saying why 2050 needs to be thought about in more aggressive terms than it currently is. But for me I can’t see how that translates into tonnes [of emissions reduced] – this week, this year, this decade.

She also stresses the need for highly targeted approaches to different businesses and sectors, drawing on examples from recent ClimateWorks Australia partnerships with decision makers in a range of industry forums and regions.

Click here to download the full transcript.

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