Transcript from the EV Transition Webinar on How to Net Zero – What are we waiting for? You can watch the webinar here.
Giles Parkinson 00:17
Hello, this is Giles Parkinson here, So you’re in the right place. We’re going to start the Net Zero, What Are We Waiting For? webinar. Okay. Hello, everyone. Welcome to this webinar event Net Zero. What are we waiting for? This is the second in a series of four webinars and multiple podcasts under the Energy Transformed series. A partnership between Ashurst and Renew Economy. We got the first one going a few weeks ago, looking at the energy markets and a fantastic webinar with a fantastic response. And we’ve got 1500 registrations for this webinar, and a great lineup of guests and I’ll be passing over to Dan Brown from Ashurst very soon. Look, the topic couldn’t be any better timed. I think Net Zero, What are we waiting for? next, we see it on the front pages of the papers every day, on the radio, on the television. And as we speak we hear that the Federal cabinet is actually meeting to discuss its own approach to net zero so perhaps Scotty and Angus Taylor might be listening in to get a few tips of where we should be heading and how quickly. We’ve got a great guest or a line up of guests and I’ll allow Dan to introduce, Audrey Zibelman, Anna Skarbeck, Kathy Danaher. Dan Brown from Ashurst is going to lead the conversation, I’m going to chip in with some audience questions. And so if you’ve got some questions, please put them in the q&a panel. You’ll see down below there, there’s some chat for people who have a bit of a chat with things. If you’ve got some questions, please put them in the q&a, that’s easiest for us to find. Audrey does have to leave at about one o’clock , she’s got another appointment. If you’ve got some questions for her we will be doing those first. And then we’ll be coming back with Kathy and Anna. Anyway, without further ado, very much welcome to this webinar. We hope you find it very, very useful. And I’d like to hand over now to Dan Brown, from Ashurst who will make the formal introductions and lead you through the conversation.
Dan Brown 03:24
Thanks so much Giles. I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the First Nations people as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work in Australia. We pay our respects to elder’s past, present and emerging, and to the youth who are working towards a brighter tomorrow. To use David Attenborough’s words, we are facing a climate crisis. We are at a critical juncture in our planet’s history. And what we’re doing now will really define our legacy. The data shows that we release about 55 Giga tons of greenhouse gases into the air every single year. And this is still increasing. To stop global warming we know that we have to get our greenhouse gas emissions down to zero. And it’s clear that every aspect of our existing economies must change. Together we need to support trillions of dollars of investment over the next three decades to achieve deep decarbonisation and to arrest global warming. Electrification of energy and power systems, decarbonisation of agriculture and transportation, energy efficient homes, offices and factories, all present opportunities to remove carbon from our atmosphere. However, the primary source of greenhouse gas is the way we generate and use our energy, by burning coal, oil and gas. One of the biggest opportunities for decarbonisation is zero carbon generation and storage. And look, many companies have been making a lot of promises lately about reducing their carbon footprint. But how are we measuring these promises? Do they have near term goals? And how can we trust the numbers? Clearly, we can’t wait until 2049 to figure this out. Hi, I’m Dan Brown, and it’s really great to be with you. Joining me on the panel today, is the leader of X’s Moonshot for an intelligent electric grid, and former Managing Director and CEO of AEMO Audrey Zibelman. We also have the vice chairwoman of ARC Energy, the entity that’s tasked with decarbonizing Korea Zincs global operations, Kathy Denaher. And we also have Anna Skarbeck, the CEO of Climate Works Australia, and it’s an organization that’s really driving credible pathways to deep decarbonisation of our economy. And we are really delighted to bring together such incredible minds for you today. We’ve got industry, we’ve got innovators, and we’ve got the policy changes. So please remember to join our conversation by using the question function in your browser. We genuinely want to hear from you. And as Giles said at the outset, it’s not surprising that Audrey is in hot demand at the moment. So we’ve got her for one hour. So please, if you have any questions for her, make sure you submit them at the outset. All right, let’s get after it. So Audrey, I’d really love to start with you. Clearly, the climate crisis is a problem that is just set up for Moonshot to solve. But before we go down that rabbit hole, I’d really love to just go back a step to like the 2020 ISP that you and your colleagues at AEMO developed. And I remember at the time, Simon Holmes a Court saying this is one of the most rigorous economic and engineering studies into our grids future. Was this in response to the climate crisis? I mean, what was really driving that beautiful work that you and the team did back then?
Audrey Zibelman 07:03
Hi, Dan, it’s great to be back. So even though I’m in San Francisco, it’s great to be virtually in Australia right now. When we develop the first integrated system plan it was actually because out of the Finkel review, and it was one of the outcomes of that determination is that we needed to have a much better outlook for the next 15/20 years, what’s going to happen in Australia? We made a determination at the time, you know that, when we looked at it, that it really needed a lot of effort, because we realized it was going to get a lot of scrutiny. And that it was going to be very important that it was predicated on really strong science and engineering math, not necessarily directed towards any policy outcome because of the fact is that that is not AEMOs job. It is really to identify what was going to happen in the system. And really what we predicted at that time, based on the analysis of the costs, what’s happening in the industry, the aging infrastructure, was that, as fossil energy, particularly old coal in Australia, began to kind of get to the end of its useful life, the most economic investments that could be made would be around renewables and storage, simply because the maths worked in that direction. It wasn’t a particular sort of evidence observe forecasting and predicting. And then we also started to recognize, and this is the subsequent ISP has looked at this and I think we’re seeing this borne out, as we see the pickup of renewables in Australia that’s going to just accelerate the retirement of coal for pure economics, you know, and that Australia is particularly one of the best environments for wind, solar, and now storage and helped along by policy. But policy alone isn’t doing it. It’s pure economics.
Dan Brown 08:58
Yeah. Yeah. And so the the ISP was really, in some ways, not so much driven by the specter of the climate crisis, but it was in response to the market’s response to net zero and those trajectories to decarbonize.
Audrey Zibelman 09:11
I mean, we can’t forget in the first decade of the 2000s, the humongous reductions in the cost of wind and solar applied Science, everything just sort of moved in that direction. .
Dan Brown 09:25
Yeah. I guess that reduction in cost is a really good point at the moment to throw to you Kathy. If we go back from the 2020 ISP to 2018 when Kora Zinc announced that, I really think it was a market making move, and it was bold in many senses, that you’re going to put utility scale solar behind the meter in Townsville. Very few people were looking at that type of solution at the time. But what was really driving that initiative for Korea Zinc at the time? Because in my experience, that was unheard of.
Kathy Danaher 09:59
Well, I’ve really got to be honest about this, and there’s a proverb that sums it up quite nicely, and then, to me, it was the “necessity is the mother of invention”. You’ve got to see that zinc refining, you know, we’re obsessed with keeping energy prices globally competitive. We had the advantage of owning the site, and we were looking at the development. And within the organization, there is a culture for long term strategic thinking. So, I mean, a lot of people don’t know that back in 2008, Korea’s Zinc was installing 150 megawatt hour battery, which was, you know, six hours to discharge and eight hours to charge. So the organization was obsessed with keeping it under control. And we, too, saw what was happening in the market. And some of it was timing, in the sense that we were always out looking to see how we could improve our electricity cost, because it’s 50% of our operating costs, excluding, you know, purchasing ore from the mine. So if you get that wrong, you really screw up your business, basically. So we’re always in the market, whether it was for electricity, hedging power, purchasing agreements, or even building our own facilities and using different types of technology. So it was the fact that we’re plugged into it consistently. And we decided to test what we were seeing through media, or from various reports that we had done by third parties. So we went out to the market at the stage when the the gigawatt solar was coming online and that really surprised us. Is that what people were telling us about the cost of energy, and what was actually there at that time astounded us. So for us as an organization, it was a very short and quick decision to move forward. And then as part of that process, is that we also had the advantage, as I said before, the long term thinking, and to give you examples about 20 years ago, when they started that refining, is that even when they built the infrastructure for it, they had in their minds, that they were going to double the size of it. So they basically had a substation twice the size that it needed to be, water pipes twice the size they needed to be, in civil, just sitting there from the very part. So it made our life, even though we weren’t part of that decision making process, a lot easier, because we could literally plug and play. And then on the site, it’s full of capable engineers, and civil, mechanical. And they wanted to play in the new world as well. And even the suppliers did, too, is that they saw that we were serious, and that we were going to do it. So it had a very, very short gestation period. So some of it was from other people’s decisions before us, and some of it was just watching that market and seeing what was happening. And sometimes facts and fiction can drift apart as we all sort of know these days.
Dan Brown 13:13
Yeah. So it really does seem like that not only was it the right thing to do, but it actually made great commercial sense for your business.
Kathy Danaher 13:21
Oh, definitely. Definitely. As part of that.
Dan Brown 13:26
And then I guess, Anna, if we go even further back to 2009 and talking about necessity being the mother of invention, the vision that you had at that time to create Climate Works when I don’t even think net zero was a term that was used at all, what was really driving that for you, because that’s absolutely groundbreaking, in my view?
Anna Skarbeck 13:51
Correct. Climate works was created in 2009 by the Myer Foundation with Monash University, in recognition of a need for a bridge between research and action. And there was recognition then, by government and business decision makers, that they knew there was a lot of science about climate change already, there was a lot of politics about climate change already, and they knew that more action was needed, but there wasn’t yet a lot of translation of that action into practical pathways. So Climate Works was set up to be a trusted adviser, housed at Monash University. And you’re right, back then our first national plan was the low carbon growth plan for Australia. What’s been consistent in that time is back casting from the goal of substantially reducing emissions. And the net zero concept really emerged around the Paris agreement, which was ratified in 2015. So five years later, we went from low carbon growth to netzero growth and pathways. And now we are continuing to refine those and we’ve seen them become quite normalized in the last five years.
Dan Brown 14:58
Yeah, that’s amazing. I mean, at that time were people questioning what you were doing and saying like, why is this relevant now? Because it seems again very visionary for that to come about at that time.
Anna Skarbeck 15:10
There was a hunger for good advice then. Business and government knew what they needed, even if they didn’t know what it looked like, so that they knew pathways were needed for substantial reductions in emissions, and back then we had marginal abatement cost curves, they were very, very helpful. What we’ve observed is that, thanks to the Paris Agreement, the two degrees and one and a half degrees goals introduced the carbon budget, and that gave us the math to do the back casting from winning means keeping the planet as safe as possible for all of us. And now we can mathematically calculate that and the science has helped us now move away from marginal abatement and start at the end of what does it zero or net zero emissions look like? And so for getting there in the optimal way across all of the sectors that that involves. And so the work hasn’t changed that much. The goals have become clearer. But we always looked at emissions across buildings and industry and energy and transport and agriculture, we still do. And we knew then that you needed a combination of economy wide pricing policies, but also sector specific regulations, market creations, information and capabilities. And that is all still true as well.
Dan Brown 16:24
Yeah, yep. Actually, I think that’s a really good inflection point, just to go back to Audrey in terms of looking at the more global pace, up specifically as it relates to the US. So Anna is talking about the marrying of, I guess, aspiration and action and the great work that came out of Princeton around net zero America. And with those five pathways to deep decarbonisation, we see the numbers at $600 billion of at risk free FID investment in order to try and get to net zero on some of those pathways. Several trillion dollars needed to actually build out everything to get to net zero. I mean, what’s the sentiment in the US at the moment? We’ve got the Biden administration in – what’s the feel there for you on the ground?
Audrey Zibelman 17:11
Well, you know, I mean, certainly since last November, the US has changed the way it’s thinking about climate and where things are moving in the US. And what’s really critical to recognize is that, you know, when you think about it, both from a State basis, and also a Federal basis, there’s generally recognition that what we need to be thinking about is how do we scale in technology, and the recognition that in fact, as we start thinking about the post COVID world and what we need to do in the US around infrastructure build out and building the economy, that looking at decarbonisation as an element of build that just makes sense. So almost like Europe, there’s really very little debate in the US anymore. There’s a debate about maybe amount, but not really a debate about whether we need to go there, and people are actually seeing it, and so that’s really changed the nature of the conversation so that anymore, what folks are talking about is not whether we go there, but how do we get to scale efficiently, just what kind of markets are going to drive it? And you know, and certainly, the events that happened in Texas, last winter, when I think you know, over 100 people died because of system black events where there wasn’t sufficient heating, actually, and there was that event, and then what happened in Louisiana, and the outcome of the rolling blackouts after the storms there and people not having power in high heat. And of course, you know, I’m in California where we’ve had problems all summer because of fires. There’s like everyone’s seeing it. We actually have to move there. And it’s a question of how best to do it. And certainly there’s an awful lot of investment going in, both by the government and private companies like mine, in thinking about how do we move this forward.
Dan Brown 19:13
And Anna I think this is a really good point to I guess, bookend the conversation. So there’s trillions of dollars that need to be invested in order to underwrite the promises that public and private sector are making around net zero. But let’s just simply – what is net zero, let’s just define that as a baseline so we all know what we’re talking about, because I feel like it’s not something that’s actually truly understood universally.
Anna Skarbeck 19:42
Well, that might be because there are many concepts wrapped up in net zero. And it can all be linked back to the IPCC science and the concept of the carbon budgets. And so we are solving for keeping the planet as safe as possible as we know we’ve triggered thewarming right through emissions. And so solving for minimizing the volume of additional emissions of greenhouse gases that are in the atmosphere, and right now we’re adding more than the planet can absorb. So the concept of getting back into balance is where net zero comes from. But there’s two versions of that balance, it’s not balance in any single a year, it’s balanced across the cumulative as well. And so the cumulative is we’re already over a degree of warming, and we’re heading rapidly to one and a half, and beyond one and a half the extra damage to all of us, if warming increases to nearly two, which is the range of the Paris Agreement, it’s exponentially worse at two degrees than one and a half. So every effort now to limit the total volume of carbon emissions that are emitted, and it’s a cumulative stock, so that’s the thing to remember that every year we take longer, it actually means we have less time to finish the job. So net zero is both a combination of the area under the curve, so the mathematical volume of that cumulative stock. And we can calculate it for the one and a half degree budget. And that’s what we at Climate Works are aligning ourselves around. And we also know the difference for the two degrees. So then you get to this concept of net zero, which is that you want to limit the cumulative stock to that volume, which means that for every year, beyond, forevermore, we can’t be adding beyond that volume. And so emissions must be in balance. So whatever we do cause through unavoidable emissions, for example, livestock, methane, which as long as we have livestock we will have some methane emissions, we can reduce some, we can absorb some as well through land and oceans. So having that imbalance is where the net concept comes from. But it’s important that the cumulative concept is borne in mind. So if we take too long, then there’s this concept of overshoot, where you’d actually want to be what they call in carbon positive, so that we can be absorbing more each year and drawing down beyond just being in balance to make up for the overshoot of the next decade of industrial emissions if we’re not getting those to net zero sooner. So I’m sorry, that’s not a short answer. There is a lot of detail involved, but trying to simplify it as the aim being zero new emissions in the atmosphere. And getting to that point of stability when we’ve got to remember that the stock of what’s there already is part of what getting to stability means. So if we’ve overshot we’re going to have to actually be in carbon drawdown or being what we call carbon positive. There’s lots of phrases around that. But to it’s all bout keeping the total stock within those carbon budgets of one and a half degrees warming.
Dan Brown 22:52
Yeah, yep. And so it seems to me that that that baseline is really well understood. Why is it that we’re seeing so many different promises, differently worded, differently phrased, differently timed, from a whole bunch of stakeholders, whether they be state actors or private sector participants?
Anna Skarbeck 23:12
Well, it’s a combination of what you reflected on earlier. The netzero concept was only introduced about five years ago when the Paris Agreement was ratified. So we’re in the process of global convergence around norms for these definitions around what best practice looks like. And in the face of a rapidly changing external context. I am seeing that convergence is beginning. But I think that’s why at the moment, you’re seeing a variety of different versions of when you measure by, and on what date, and net zero by 2050. Now there’s focus on Well, actually, the shape of the line matters. So 2030 actions really matter, that brings in the interim targets. And then is being carbon neutral along the way, so that you’re still emitting, but you can offset along the way, but there’s going to come a point where the social licence for doing that is now diminishing, because when technology can eliminate the emissions, the expectations from many in the finance communities that if you want to call your investments green, you need to have done the elimination, not added to the stock, and then used up some of the supply of nature based sequestration for what you could have avoided in the first place. So I think that the norms are also changing, which is why you’re seeing some of those definitions evolve as the understanding of best practice evolves.
Dan Brown 24:30
Yeah. And then I guess, just finally, on this piece, how is it that we ensure the provenance of what the corporate market is saying about these promises or about what we’re all saying about these promises? It seems like you said the baseline’s there, it’s quite clear the budget and those sorts of elements to net zero, but how do we keep everybody accountable for the promises they make, given that if they fail to do so the impact at the back end of 2050 is really catastrophic.
Anna Skarbeck 25:01
It takes a village, I think is the phrase. And it does indeed. So there are emerging voluntary certifications, legal definitions, social licence criteria. One thing that I think is positive is that it does seem to be a race to the top that, you know, we live in the digital era, there are many issues that companies and governments are held to account on now, gender equity, modern slavery, child labor, a variety of issues where there is now accountability in the form of formal legal accountability plus the social licence accountability, and there is transparency. And we’re reaching that point now in relation to carbon emissions as well. I see that expanding to scope three emissions across the whole supply chain. I know there is soon going to be the digital ability to understand Point Source emissions in a spatial way, thanks to satellite data. So we won’t be reliant on corporate reporting alone, for example. But also governments have been building corporate reporting. Australia has NGER, the National Greenhouse Emissions Reporting System, and there is the UN tracking of emissions as well. So again, it’s a layer upon layer. But I do see that the expectations continue to rise as does the ability to measure and hold account, but then it relies on the village to do the holding to account. And I think we’re seeing shifting sentiment in that front as well. You know, consumers prefer the green option, it may not always be easy for them to choose it. So the easier that that gets, and the more visible that that gets, the stronger that the accountability will be as well.
Dan Brown 26:39
Yeah, yeah. And look, I think this concept of taking a village and making it easier for the consumers and removing barriers to entry around the netzero journey is probably a great point to come back to you, Kathy. And specifically around ARC Energy. And we all know that ARC Energy has been established for a bunch of reasons, but one of them, which I really love is it has been established to decarbonize Korea Zincs global business. So we’ve heard from Anna, what net zero is and all of the issues surrounding that net zero piece around accountability and reporting, but why now for Korea Zinc and ARC Energy? What’s really driving this for them at this point in time, apart from the concept that you mentioned at the outset, around necessity, being the mother of invention?
Kathy Danaher 27:29
It is seen within the group as the next growth engine, basically. So it’s got two prongs to it, which is obviously their core business, which is they need to decarbonize that to remain competitive. But it’s also seen as a growth engine about renewal and growth and what can be achieved as part of it. Hence, why we’re also playing in the hydrogen space, as part of it. Is that the first the first goal is to decarbonize the Koea Zinc group, but the second goal is then also to build a new industry as part of that, and we see hydrogen as part of that play. And we started out fairly small in the sense that at this, we, I mean, again, it comes back to it, the Vice Chairman, he back in 2015 arrived at our zinc refinery, and I remember him, he’s now the vice chairman of the group, but at that stage, he was the CEO. And he goes, I’m just going to America, there’s this thing about splitting water, and that I think it would be a game changer when you know if it ever takes off, and that was 2015. So he’s been embedding this within the culture of the organization for six years. And in that our knowledge has grown quite a lot over that time to where we are and what we’re doing and how we’re going to do it as part of that process. So it did unleash something else that was good as part of it. And yeah, it’s an exciting journey. And not all the pieces of the puzzle are there together. And some of those time curves will change over time as as it normally does in any cycle as part of that. But so it wasn’t just self preservation. It was growth.
Dan Brown 29:19
Yeah, yeah. And then, Audrey, I think now’s a really good time to kind of dive deeper into, I guess the rationale from an X’s perspective about why they’re focusing on intelligent electric grids, because when I pull back to 100,000 feet, I look at all the amazing work coming out of that moonshot factory. To me, the electrification of the grid and making it an intelligent network does seem like a natural add on, but it might not for everybody. Like what’s really driving this for the organization?
Audrey Zibelman 29:56
Well, I think that there are a number of things. First of all, I think it’s important to look at it from the entire Alphabet context. Now Alphabet has made a commitment for 24/7, carbon free energy for all. And our data centers are actually some of the cleanest data centers in terms of buying only renewable energy. We also have invested in other things in the sector, for example, the nest thermostats, and renew nest, which just came out, which is all about helping individuals be able to manage their, you know, both their energy use, and also their demand to reduce their own carbon footprints. And then there are early investments in companies like Dandelion, which is looking at geothermal, and Malkani which is looking at wind. And so there’s been a long history at Alphabet around how to innovate in the energy space, although people haven’t quite, you know, sort of seen it in all of the pieces because it’s a big company. But what we’re doing, so X is really, when you think about it, the things that X is focused on in historically like, Waymo self driving vehicles is all about how do you apply artificial intelligence, machine learning and computer capabilities to thinking about how do you solve this big problem, which is what we know is that a lot of car accidents are created by people. And so if we move to autonomous vehicles, we can help people stay safer on the roads. So that’s sort of one issue, where we focused on pharmaceuticals with fairly and Wing, one of our others, which is self automated drones, is about delivering energy to places where people otherwise, or delivering goods to where people couldn’t get it otherwise. And then our other recent announcements that you’ve seen around how we’re using artificial intelligence to help with agriculture and artificial intelligence and also innovation, to give people access to internet. They’re all in the same thesis is how do we use major tech tenex changes in technology to help billions of people around the world applying what we do best around artificial intelligence, machine learning, advanced computing. And you know, for me, and this is sort of like my passion, when I was at AEMO the thing that became really apparent to me is that the modeling tools, the visualization issues, our ability to actually look at how are we going to see problems on the grid after resources change, how we’re going to address resiliency better, all came down to not having the best tools that we needed in the industry. Because the tools that we’re using were really developed in around a much different grid. So we started focusing on things like the digital twin and AEMO’s moved forward on that. But what we’re thinking about at X is how do you how do we apply what we know around artificial intelligence, machine learning events, computing, data acquisition, so we have a much better picture. Think about, you know, if you had a global view, everybody could easily access what’s happening on the system, and then therefore, we can drive innovation better, because it won’t be a mystery anymore. And so if you think about what Google’s done around mapping for roads, is like, how do you make what’s today’s invisible, visible, so that it becomes a tool for everyone to use. And you know, with the objective, it’s becomes then faster, easier, cheaper to decarbonize. So some of the debates that we have in Australia, if you could visualize it, right? And we were saying, Well, what would happen” if”? Well, let’s go look! Well, we can actually see it, we will know what happens “if”. If we want to change the market? Will it be better? Or will it be worse? Well, let’s go try and see. And so that’s what we’re missing in the grid. And that’s not just here, but it’s everywhere. So you know, the debates we had in Australia about how long it takes to interconnect, well that’s everywhere. And so think about the amount of wind and solar have to be interconnected, we have to speed up the time, we can’t just sort of wait, and what Anna is saying is spot on. We don’t have till 2050. We have to do this much faster. We all know that we can’t decarbonize our economies until we decarbonize the power system. And it’s only going to get more complex as we think about coupling with transport and coupling with heating. And so we have to give the people tools, and the nice thing about artificial intelligence machine learning and the grid is that once you start doing this you can learn faster and faster because the machine will say oh, well that use case that was tried in Sydney. Oh, it works in New York. It’s a lot faster, we can solve it faster. So that’s what we’re about. It’s all focused on really, you know, X’s goal is how do we use technology to help billions around the earth and make sure that we’re helping make real big technology leaps, not incremental, because our objective is really to have as big a profound impact as we can.
Dan Brown 35:02
Yeah. Yeah. I love that about how do we make the invisible visible? You know, how do we give, I guess, access to everybody to understand what’s happening, and talking about access to the system or to the article, so to speak, Giles, we should throw to questions now.
Giles Parkinson 35:20
Thank you very much Dan. And we’re going to focus the first round of questions with Audrey, because Audrey does actually go soon. I have a quick question, because they relate to some of the other questions that we’ve got from the audience, you just mentioned about the need to decarbonize the grid first, because everything else follows after that. How quickly can and should we do it?
Audrey Zibelman 35:38
Well, you know, I think if we’re talking emphasis, we need to get on that curve right? I just was listening, actually, to a speech by Greta Thornburg, who reminded us all that 21 doesn’t look so great in terms of emissions. And I thought, it’s lovely when she says, she’s tired of the blah, blah. And I think we’re all tired of the blah, blah, and we really need to start taking action. So you know, my view, we really need to think about how do we decarbonize power systems? I know, the administration’s objective is by 2035 in the US, and, you know, if we think about what we’re going to have to do for transport and process fuel, that’s a fairly reasonable, it’s extremely ambitious. But if you’re not ambitious, you’re not going to get there, that that we really need to move forward. And I think, you know, to me, really understanding that there’s a lot of learnings to get done. And we have to start thinking about how do we move faster? And how do we scale faster rather than debating? You know, should we go there is really that this is the moment to do that. The other thing is, you know, I think in the weeks now, where everyone is looking at cup and and we’re cup, I think itself is going to be focused on announcements of what people are doing, as opposed to what they’re hoping to do, is really the time for all of us to start thinking about how do we create a bias towards action?
Giles Parkinson 37:04
Should we bring it to 2030 to decarbonize the grid? I mean 2035 is what the US has said, now the UK has come on board saying that the EU is implicit in their fit by 55. AEMOs latest ISP is actually talking about 2035 in its hydrogen superpower scenario. So can we do it even quicker?
Audrey Zibelman 37:26
Well, you know, I think that the complexity of this, and this is, you know, where I have a profound respect, there’s a lot of challenges that we’re going to have to deal with around the process of decarbonisation. I think setting a goal of 2035. You know, hopefully we would you say….Would you say we overshoot it if we get there early? In any event, I think setting one that we can all get our heads around and say let’s move towards that is really important. And, I think the point is is that the momentum has to be behind getting to that as quickly as we can, and understanding it’s a lot of work. I mean, you know, when you think about it, where Australia’s compared to the rest of the world, in many ways, we’re in good shape, because it’s happening there. And we’re starting to, you know, Australia’s sort of leading in understanding some of the technical challenges of moving to a decarbonized grid. A lot of the rest of the world is actually lagging in terms of understanding that, and that’s something we’re trying to do with our Moonshot is allow for very fast learnings, because that’s what’s gonna have to happen.
Giles Parkinson 38:40
So I’ve just got a couple more questions here. People talking about two degrees, a lot of our net zero targets are around 2050, really just addressing a two degree target. And 1.5 degrees, I think, and we’ll probably hear from Anna later on, is probably going to require something like net zero by 2040. In the US amid the government and the corporations and with the people at at Moonshot. Are those faster targets being discussed?
Audrey Zibelman 39:10
I think they are they, they absolutely are. And I think you know, the administration’s leading and I think a lot of the states are leaning on it. I think what’s really being discussed in the states is the how, you know, what changes need to occur over what timeframe and what kind of investments need to happen. And then people are talking about, you know, people in Australia will find this very familiar, how do we allocate the cost? Who pays for the transmission? How do we get it done? You know, what do we do around distributed energy? How do we take advantage of rooftop solar? So it’s all the same debates, but I guess you know, what I’m seeing in the US is just sort of this intensity of the various governments really pushing behind… Well, this is how we’re going to do it, not debating on whether it should happen. And I think that will probably continue because we’ve sort of reached that tipping point. And in many ways Australia the same way, you know, the states have been pushing for a much faster decarbonisation route.
Giles Parkinson 40:10
So when you’re talking about improved technologies, and the things that you were talking about with X then, making invisible things visible, sounds like technologies, which just enhance what we’ve got now, or do we need like a rain maker technology or something we hadn’t thought about doing to get them?
Audrey Zibelman 40:26
Look, there is a huge amount of innovation happening. And I’ve had an, you know, enjoyed, actually, you know, while I’m at X hearing from a lot of Australian companies are doing amazing things in the tech space around how do we integrate renewables better. And of course, there’s a lot of work continues to go on around battery chemistry. And, you know, companies like Kathys’, I actually talked about because of the work they’ve done, around how to optimize behind the meter. So there’s, you know, all of that. I think the issue around where we need to go in the industry, is how do we move to scale quickly around innovation? So a lot of the issues that we continue to suffer in this industry is speed and scale. And part of that, I think, is the fact that each grid is sort of a one to many situation. And for us, the question is, how do we use virtualization and think about it in a digital world where there’s platforms where it’s a many to many, and drive change quickly, so that if you have a great solution, and there are many companies in Australia that have it, you know, how do they enter into other markets easily without having to prove themselves over and over and over again, and this is where we think part of our Moonshot, and this concept of virtualization can help where people can actually see how it works. And then it’s easier for people to get into markets. And we drive that kind of scale, as well as drive a certain level of standardization. You know, when I think about the world, I think about things that, for example, with electric vehicles, you know, if you’re manufacturing an electric vehicle, you can’t worry about well which jurisdiction it’s going to end up in, except for maybe if they drive on the right side, or drive on the left side, you would like to know that the market is going to work the same way, or a smart washing machine or anything like that. So all of these things the discussion has been moving towards how do we drive scalability in this industry, because we have to move faster than we can. And to me part of this is really thinking about how do we make sure for the people who are charged with keeping the lights on that they can have the confidence and when they’re interconnecting things, it’s actually going to work and it’ll be a benefit. And for regulators themselves to also have better information. So they can feel confident that the decisions that are being made or decisions that are going to benefit consumers. And all that goes to better information, better modeling, faster decision making. And that’s why it’s become a focus of our Moonshot.
Giles Parkinson 42:58
So one final question for you. And also for Anna too becaue I’d like to hear her response to this. It’s from anonymous, but because of the nature of the question, I think it actually might come from federal cabinet and it’ll probably need an urgent response. Do you see pathways to getting netzero without a carbon price?
Audrey Zibelman 43:18
You know, I think that always I mean, we’ve been saying this for a long time, having a carbon price makes things easier, makes things clear. But what we’ve learned in Australia, I think, is with the tech changes, we can get there because of better information, and frankly, where consumer sentiment is now. I think that the fact is, is that for me, I think we’re quickly moving to the point where making the environmental decision and making the economic decision, as Kathy said is, it’s sort of like one and the same it’s actually good for business and good for the environment. And I think at the individual home, we’re quickly getting to the same place. We need, in fact, and this as Australia knows this better than anyone else, we need to be able to engage consumers and thinking about how to use these resources, actually, as we made policy changes in Australia around paying people to manage their energy use better, becomes an actually a better economic decision for the consumer to be part of the solution. And so all of this sort of to me saying yes, would have been easier. But is it necessary? I don’t know if that’s true.
Giles Parkinson 44:31
Yes, Anna, what’s your view of this? And Paul please, take it away from there.
Anna Skarbeck 44:39
And… and…not an and or, decision. Audreys right, it makes it easier. Our research dating back to 2010 said that even then before net zero was on the table, we knew that it would need carbon pricing and sector specific policies. And that is still true and the faster that the time race most, so for 1.5 degree, you need much more than a carbon price because you’ve got to do the back casting and think about long lived assets and set sophisticated policy signals. But the reason that it’s and… and… is there’s quite a difference in a market between leaders and the remainder. And so we know that finishing the job requires the most comprehensive policy suite you’ve got. To take one example in the built environment with buildings in Australia, a topic I’m close to, back then we knew that the building code hasn’t been updated for a decade in Australia. And yet technology and energy efficiency has improved through the roof. There are building leaders, your Green Building Council and others, that are already making commitments for 100%, renewable or zero emissions buildings, yet the mainstream market isn’t there yet. And so there are policy tools to bridge the gap between leaders and the whole sort of, you know, to finish the job. And in that particular case, there is a National Construction Code. But to get an improvement through, you need to do regulatory impact statements, you’ve got to think about cost benefit. And when external externality costs aren’t priced it changes the way decisions are made sometimes in treasuries. And that is a live debate right now in Australia, where because we haven’t got the whole suite of policies in place that it’s hard to get even a single ratchet in one of the the minimum building code, yet the leaders are already miles ahead. So comprehensive decarbonisation needs a comprehensive policy suite. But right now in terms of and.. and, taking a sector specific approach with roadmaps that involve industry, government and community can really help everybody understand what are we solving for, and then we we move forward on action on investments, action on setting the goals, so that then those goals can be baked into policy measures. And markets of all shapes. It may not always be a carbon credits market, but setting the goal into other markets gives you the equivalent price signal.
Dan Brown 47:14
Yeah, look, I think now is a great time, while we’re talking about making the invisible visible, when we look at the lack of pronounced federal government commitment here at the moment, and I understand it’s rumored to be coming soon, and then we look at the overlay from the international community we’ve had this week, Prince Charles comment on it, Joe Biden’s mentioned it, Boris Johnson’s mentioned it. We’ve got all the Australian states and territories, making formal commitments. Even the National Farmers Federation in some way have acknowledged around dealing with clients who are climate conscious. The EU rumbling about tariffs on Australian exports. Kathy, I’d really be keen to get your insight on what we need to do here, and word on the street is back in the day, you were instrumental in lobbying for the five minute rule change. So what levers did you pull,then, what levers can you pull now to help really move this conversation forward so that we end up with an and… and situation like Anna is talking about to really drive that action?
Kathy Danaher 48:24
Yeah, to be honest, again, maybe I’ve already said that, is that, you know, we were the little new kid on the block. We’re a small part of, we were a market participant in the sense that we’re heavy industrial user and we didn’t use a retailer. So we sort of cut out part of that process. So the reason it really got through was two things, I think, one was momentum. And the other one was definitely technological change as part of that process. So there was momentum at that same time about rising price volatility. So it helped to do that part of the puzzle. But also, we had to do our research into it, because it wasn’t a new change. It had been up before and it had failed. And the reason it failed is that was given at the time, was that IT data and smart meetings weren’t ubiquitous across the NEM, so that this real change would be put back up so that consumers can make better decisions on when they should use power and how they should use power. And at the same time, we were assessing batteries, and we knew how quick it could actually respond. So we knew that the technological part of this puzzle was not the issue anymore as part of it. So I think it was that momentum and the fact that technological change was there and it was the best way to use it. And I’m sure the five minute rule settlement still has a way to go as part of it. If you look at Renew Economy in October, they said rooftop solar hit over a third of Australia’s usage of energy at that point of time. And there will still be the other impact of the fact that soon as you know, smart meters are used more more frequently, even though from now is that the signal that we got, the signal they’ll see as well as part of that process, so then it’s in the consumers hands of, you know, do I turn my dishwasher on automatically at midnight? Do I, you know, when do I set my washing machine off? As part of it? Do I trickle charge my new Tesla, as opposed to, you know, hitting a big peak when everyone’s turned on and the price is high? Or, you know, or do I feel my battery during the day, is that we’re now seeing a different shift as part of that process. So, you know, I think it will continue. So again, for me, it was momentum and solving some technological parts of that process.
Audrey Zibelman 51:03
Can I answer to that? I think Kathy is undermining her effectiveness and her tenaciousness. I think she did an amazing job, because there are a lot of people who were objecting, and…
Kathy Danaher 51:13
I wasn’t a very popular person around…
Audrey Zibelman 51:17
She didn’t get invited to many parties. But she was extraordinarily effective.
Dan Brown 51:23
I guess that’s the really interesting piece for me, and I’m sure for many of the people listening in today, that you could create an effect that change in that part of the market. But again, what really interests me about your business model, Kathy, is that, notwithstanding that we don’t have a clear pronouncement at the moment, you’re still forging ahead with your Sun HQ in North Queensland, to build that international supply chain for green hydrogen to support your broader business. But not withstanding, and this is a bit I really love about it, in the absence of all of this policy setting, it seems that you’re still going on and creating a domestic ecosystem around renewables, which is ultimately going to push that netzero bandwagon I guess, to really drive that deep decarbonisation, not just for your business in a self interested way, but the rising tide is really lifting all boats. I mean, is that is that how the business sees it? Or is that just an unintended consequence of what you’re trying to achieve?
Kathy Danaher 52:23
Well, we’ve got a mandate to do what we need to do, so the mandates there, but there’s also what we have learned is that the best way to turbocharge learnings is to do something, if you know what I mean. So if you think about that little ecosystem that we’re sending up at Sun Metals is that we will produce hydrogen on site, we will compress it, store it and dispense it into, you know, triple road train trucks, that’s going to take them from our refinery, finished product to the port and bring ores in from the port. So it’s a nice little ecosystem to learn all the way through as part of that process. And this time, we’ve taken a bit more of a step forward, because those trucks will be the biggest trucks in the world pulling those sort of loads of 140 tonnes as part of it. So yes, I suppose that we will still innovate, and that’ll be our learning ground. And at the same time, no, we won’t forget that we want to export hydrogen to our parent. And what form that is in terms of ammonia, or whether it’s liquefied is that some of those stepping stones will reveal them over time. But I think it is, get into it, and then the learnings grow exponentially from that process and starts embedding further within your organization.
Dan Brown 53:50
Yeah, sounds like you need to be doing some consulting with Audrey over at Moonshot Factory with that attitude Kathy.One of the things that we haven’t touched on, but I guess is really interlinked into this whole approach, Anna, is the role of offsets. Some quarters of the market think that they’re a bit of a dirty word in terms of greenwashing, or green wishing, but I’d be really keen to get your guidance on the role they have to play and whether there’s a credible role for them in reaching net zero by the time we need to.
Anna Skarbeck 54:28
Yes, I’ve touched on this earlier. It’s continuing to change. So as I mentioned, it’s very, very valuable to move as fast as we can with nature based solutions. We need all the sequestration we can get. Like the 1.5 degree pathway is so much steeper than the two degrees and so much better for us. But the reason that you mentioned that there is increasing skepticism around offsets, there are many reasons and there’s always a spectrum of corporate performance but the science reason is that the scale of emissions overshoot at the moment is so far beyond being within the 1.5 degree carbon budget that we cannot solve by offsetting the entirety, right. So the maths has been done by multiple different scenarios groups, and we must eliminate all the emissions that we technologically can, because the supply of land available for the pure purpose of offsetting is finite. And the volume of emissions that we are collectively currently producing is multiple times beyond that capacity. So on a sharing of, you know, optimization scenarios play, everything that can be electrified, must be. Everything that can be substituted to green hydrogen must be. And the residual is what we’re talking about is only what cannot be otherwise eliminated, is what we must preserve the finite use of land for nature based sequestration. There’s some opportunity for ocean based sequestration through mangroves and the like. We will need all of that for the overshoot that we’re most concerned about. Then there’s of course, doing offsets well, so nature based solutions that take account of biodiversity is how we can get win win.You know, there is the other cop underway right now. And just as our safety depends on a safe climate, and trying to limit global warming, safety also depends on ecosystems surviving, and some species biodiversity. So there’s currently a cop on about that. So we will need to get better at how we do offsets to make sure we can enhance natural capital through sequestration, but also through our use of land for agriculture, and spatial planning as well. So there’s going to be a continuous improvement, I think, is the message for your listeners to think about that if you’re in the market, of needing and using and wanting to supply offsets, you’re well aware of these rising standards and the ability to have some wonderful outcomes from them. But to recognize that we should use them for their highest value purposes.
Dan Brown 57:19
And that we should probably go long on them if we’re wanting to invest. That’s a joke, by the way. I’m mindful of your time, Audrey, before you go, I’ll be really brief, what is the kind of single silver bullet, you know, Moonshot type solution to get us to net zero? What do we need to do? If you could wave your magic wand what would you wish for?
Audrey Zibelman 57:43
I am a really great believer in the power of innovation and great thinking, you know, the sort of things that Kathy has talked about. And to me, it’s all going to start with getting really the information out there, the data, being able to actually drive innovation to drive scale, by creating an equity and access to information. And in many ways access to information is going to be the fuel, I think for the for the decarbonisation of the grid, and data, you know, when you think about the role of wind and solar and the climate, it’s all going to be around that. And making that accessible and easy, I think is going to be a very critical thing. So policies that enable that I think will go a long way to helping us get there.
Dan Brown 58:33
Excellent. Thank you,
Audrey Zibelman 58:35
I thank you all and apologize, I wish I could stay.
Giles Parkinson 58:39
Thank you very much for joining us Audrey.
Dan Brown 58:42
So Kathy, when we take off your vice chair of ARC Energy hat for a moment, and we look at the net zero trajectory that, not just we as an Australian economy need to land, but as a global community we need to land, what are the greatest opportunities for us, arising out of this transition, this once in a multi generational transition?
Kathy Danaher 59:13
I actually do hope that we bring people along with us, and we can actually think of making things better as part of that process. So, you know, there’s a bit of me that also wants to make sure that those people that may feel threatened, it’s not threatening. So it’s about creating awareness and creating pathways for for a lot of different parts of the economy and for individuals as well as part of that. So I don’t think I really answered your question, but I think we are accelerating knowledge and we’re accelerating what we’re doing as part of that and the broadness that that can touch is a bit like I was saying before, once people can touch and feel it, they can make better judgments. When it’s when it’s a bit more nebulous, it’s harder to sort of sit down and you can throw cheap shots both ways when it’s a bit nebulous, and part of it. So you know, I think, you know, more than we get on the ground, and people can actually see this working and doing and the sky hasn’t fallen in. It’ll be good for all of us as part of that process.
Dan Brown 1:00:33
Yeah, and look, I really love that because it’s, you know, it’s very similar to the comment that Audrey just made, where the way that we can innovate effectively and efficiently is through data. And as you say, the awareness and understanding that the sky is not going to fall in. Before we throw to Giles for the last round of questions, Anna I’d just like to throw to you on a very similar question. A lot of what you do is data driven, and we’re accumulating more data. And so out of that data at the moment, I imagine it can only help you to be more effective at your role of lobbying for policy changes, and helping corporates go on that journey to deep decarbonisation in a really meaningful way. But what are you seeing as the greatest opportunities out of this transition?
Anna Skarbeck 1:01:24
What excites me is how many of the actions we know we need to take to create win win win opportunities. So that we’re trying really hard to solve for climate in the time that we have against the climate science and reorienting an economy and modernizing it. And in doing so, what climate boffins like me used to call co benefits are, in fact, much more valuable to a lot of people. When all cars are electric, air will be clean, our roads will be quieter, property values on busy roads could well be different. And that’s just one tiny example. I talked earlier about offsets, but rejuvenating our landscapes is so important to our fundamental safety in terms of species survival, but also well being. We all know from the need to connect with nature through COVID. And the growth of the hydrogen market, creating new industrial opportunities for Australia as a nation. And so there are so many win win win outcomes for getting the climate solutions right. But I think if you’re asking for what’s the one, you know, the silver bullet type question, I’d actually say, don’t ask for silver bullets. The thing with climate change is actually about seeing it as something to be embedded in the normal way we do business. And there is not just one answer, there is not just one thing to focus on. And when we think about any of the other challenges we’ve leaned into for society, gender equity, ending homelessness, indigenous reconciliation, ending child labor, none of them had just one answer. And so I think, normalizing this moment now where we are able to see it as an opportunity, but also to recognize that we should look for the climate risk and opportunity in all the decisions we’re making, and not think that there’s a silver bullet for it. I think there’s actually two messages in that.
Dan Brown 1:03:28
Yeah, I love that. I love that. Giles, over to you for some more questions.
Giles Parkinson 1:03:35
Thanks, Dan. And thanks, Audrey, and great to have Anna and Kathy with us, but we’re gonna get to some of the serious questions here from the audience. Anna, to you first, but I’m also going to ask Kathy, the question is from Tanya, how should we make the government more committed and take serious action on this? I guess the question is, what sort of government because we’re starting to see state governments becoming very engaged, the federal government is feeling it has to move somewhere, we’re not too sure where it’s going to move. Well, how do we make the government more responsive? And my added questions to that are, are you seeing a big change in various levels of governments? And how much do we need them?
Anna Skarbeck 1:04:25
In reverse order, I guess. Governments are important. And I go back to the it takes a village. The scenarios when we publish net zero scenarios, the 1.5 degree scenario, which is now called hydrogen superpower in the AEMO work. We first called it the ALL IN scenario. To realign our economy’s emissions trajectory with that sort of steeper curve, it says emissions being net zero by 2035, but actually us needing to 2050 to catch up the overshoot through increased sequestration. We find that it needed government and business and consumers. So the ALL IN choice of phrase was deliberate. But of course, governments set the shape of markets. And I think that’s the most important role at the moment here, is to embed the net zero goal into the shape of all the markets that influence emissions, which also includes all the decision makers, so long term investments, and so that includes incorporating it across all portfolios, from Treasury to transport to industrial development, to, of course, energy. And so that is a clear role for government. There are, of course, many more specific roles for governments. And we’re doing a lot of work with state governments now. And of course, in Australia, we have federation and different constitutional responsibilities. But it’s very helpful to think about solving for embedding the net zero goal in the outcome of all our markets, and then helping unblock those barriers where each player can do what it needs to do. So businesses as well as governments can think about how do you embed net zero into your procurement? Is it in your supply chain contracts? And that’s homework for businesses as well as it is for governments. And then, of course, governments do set standards around the way software and batteries and the grid and the intelligent grid and all of that. So there’s a role in shared infrastructure. And so there are roles for convening industries and communities to create these price based approaches. I could go on. There’s there’s a lot of role for government, but it’s not alone. It’s with business and community as well. And we are seeing an increased momentum to your second question. We’re seeing federal, state governments wanting to invest in hydrogen hubs in clustering of industrial decarbonisation zones, we’re seeing state governments call forward renewable energy zones. The job now is to link those. To link the REZwith the RIZ, if you like the renewable energy zone with the industrial zone, and enable the ecosystem to come together at scale. Audrey talked about speed and scale. And so combining the efforts of state and federal and local governments, is obviously the best chance for achieving speed and scale. Sometimes, going slower to coordinate the multi parties allows the greatest scale, which ultimately allows the going faster. To end on a positive note, whereas Audrey was talking about speed and scale, I was thinking about what we’ve learned from COVID. And if there was ever a time, which we were pre COVID, calling for speed and scale, in terms of the response from business and government, both investment and policy, we can now have confidence that we’ve exercised those muscles that as governments and businesses and societies, we’ve seen speed and scale in relation to COVID. We saw the tech solution vaccinations be called forward with advanced market commitments. And obviously, there are a lot of differences between COVID and climate. But I think everyone has learned that we can, you know, adjust and accelerate, and they are skill sets that I think business will continue to draw upon as can governments.
Giles Parkinson 1:08:19
I think I’m going to throw it to you, what’s government done for you? And what do you want it to do for you? Or for the industry more generally?
Kathy Danaher 1:08:27
For me, or for Anna?
Giles Parkinson 1:08:29
For you Kathy.
Kathy Danaher 1:08:32
Well, for me, I don’t need them to do anything for me. But I would like to remind them that, I suppose, is that they have a great power, and they have a great power of influence, and coming out of the COVID in a scenario where in that period that you need to stimulate and infrastructure is the call that we do need within the grid, as Audrey said before, as part of that process, is that, I think, is that if they can leverage that and realize that companies like us, we came to Australia in the late 90s because energy was under controlled, energy policy. We knew what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. And that meant that lots of people came to invest. And I think that can be the same again, is that I think people are starting to come to the realization that we can have massive renewable facilities in Australia as part of it and get down into the bottom quartile of those cost curves for energy. And then that has its own birth that comes out of that process. I mean, it’s the reason the aluminium industry came to Australia in the 1970s. Same thing as part of it. So we’ve been an energy country for various sources for for a long time. And I think we can still harness that further. So you know, for me, for the government is back yourself, as part of that process would be what I’d be saying to them, as opposed to keeping your head under the dooner and making sure that you’re keeping everyone happy. Just back yourself.
Giles Parkinson 1:10:14
I just got one last question for each of you before heading back to Dan to wrap. And Kathy, you just talked about the different technologies that Sun Metals has been introducing, I mean, just to remind people that Sun Metals is actually the second biggest energy consumer in the state of Queensland. So it’s pretty significant. You know, you’ve got the solar, you’re now looking at wind, you’re looking at battery storage, you’re looking at hydrogen, both in terms of industrial processes, and also the transport fleet. We often hear about these technologies and company in the business level, it sounds like a bit of green washing, it sounds like a bit of this, a bit of that to make it look good. How real are these technologies for you and for your organization? And how confident are you, any doubt that these other technologies that’s going to take your business and the industry in general forward?
Kathy Danaher 1:11:01
Yes, I mean, yeah, you might call it we’re the believers, if you want to use that sort of terminology. But you know, same thing is that that hydrogen roadmap is a bit like the renewables hype roadmap. But we’ve seen in the market it is accelerating as part of that process. So yes, there’s many parts of the supply chain that’s got high capital cost at the moment. But we’re also, I sort of reflect on mass scales of when you get part of those value chains coming through. And, you know you’re seeing within the industry a lot of new alliances forming at a corporate level as part of that. And that’s right across the energy value chain. So once you start seeing those big players like Shell and all the rest of it out there in the market this year, they’re not just going to dip their toes in now. Is that the growth of that hydrogen curve, to me can have a similar growth trajectory of what we’ve seen. It runs wrong slowly for a time but when it kicks up, it kicks up quite quickly, as part of that. And usually we underestimate that technological part of the process. But, you know, if I had to guess, you know, that the big stuff by the end of, you know, another seven to 10 years, that’s where we’re sort of making sure that we will be definitely exporting to South Korea as part of that. And in the meantime, we’ll build the domestic economy. And you know, decarbonize, what we can do at this end of the scale. And yes, because hydrogen is one that can be used in lots of different applications, is that there will be different players that will find their niche and they’ll grow it quickly. So I’m obviously quite positive, as part of it, but still aware of the fact that right now, is that some of the parts of the puzzle are expensive. So you know, you’ve got to have the big players that can wear that and move through those those cycles to come out the other end.
Giles Parkinson 1:13:13
And just one final question for you. Anna, we’ve got a couple of questions about stranded assets and things like that. What should we think about …we’ve heard about the pace of technology change? There’s obviously some companies and some industries that can’t or won’t transition? To what extent do we worry about those? And just to sort of extend the analogy, do you have to worry about political parties that that can’t or won’t transition as well, but also then we’ve got the communities who need to be thought of as well. How do we see that issue in its broadest sense.
Anna Skarbeck 1:13:47
And there’s enormous amounts to do on all of those fronts there. You mentioned communities and I made a COVID analogy earlier. Another thing that I found as a positive in looking at how governments and societies adapted to COVID was there was a lot of support for affected communities. You know, we had job keeper for people whose jobs were furloughed, we’ve had prioritization of marginal or vulnerable communities. And society did that without blinking. It was the natural human instinct. And the response was science led. And so the analogies for climate is science is leading here. We’ve seen in just the last five years, as I described, the concept of net zero went from nowhere to being understood, to having a two degrees benchmark and having a 1.5 degree benchmark. That’s now what the institutional investors are setting as their benchmark, it’s what will be the expectation of governments and companies soon. You can follow the science and understand what that means for the technologies that are a risk of stranding. And you can see that the pace of technology development as Kathy was saying, usually goes faster than the data can predict because the data lags the market. And so you can preempt that and know that that’s coming and take the same approach that we took to the communities that will be affected. Luckily for Australia, a lot of the potential impact of aging industries, and we know that the planet is not safe until we stop emitting from fossil fuel use and eliminate those emissions, but we also know that those skill sets and a lot of those communities are well placed to be the hubs for the enormous exponential curve of growth for producing renewable energy for hydrogen and other energy intensive industries. So we’ve got this opportunity now to lean in and solve both community support and community engagement in the solutions. There’s at least a dozen locations around Australia that we’ve mapped, that would be ripe for a really strong place based, industry modernisation focus, where we can crowd in the technology for renewable energy and energy intensive, zero emissions industries. So solving it in a goal oriented way with those communities is within our reach now, and I’m beginning to see that and I’m hopeful that that’s what will become the hallmark of a good response nationally.
Dan Brown 1:16:27
Thanks so much, and I love that. I love using the COVID in sometimes there’s a silver lining about how we can come together around science and work through a really big issue. And it’s equally applicable to the challenges we face around net zero. And from my perspective, it’s clear that the scale and urgency of the problem is immense, and is probably one of the great challenges facing humanity at the moment. However, as you’ve heard from our panelists, the green economy really is an opportunity rather than a threat. And what we’ve also heard is that it takes a village, that we need to look for the win win win. And that necessity really does drive innovation. But I also think it’s clear that we need to build a bridge between academia, industry, the private and public sectors, and importantly, our communities if we had to realistically facilitate deep decarbonisation that’s required over the next 30 years. This will no doubt require a shift in policies, regulations and practices of many stakeholders as quickly and as effectively as possible. But in many cases, this transition is happening already. And I am, and I’m sure many of you are, genuinely optimistic that if we harnessed the excitement, the energy and the enthusiasm to respond to these great challenges, then we definitely have an opportunity to solve it. And one thing is really clear, is that we can’t fail to solve it. And in the context of Moonshot, and we go back to those really amazing words of John F. Kennedy, we choose to go to the moon and to do other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because the challenge is one that we are willing to accept. And it’s one that we are unwilling to postpone. So on behalf of Ashurst, I’d really like to thank you all for participating in our webinar today. Please join me in a virtual standing ovation to our amazing panelists, Audrey, Anna, and Kathy, because it provided us with some really amazing insights and it’s really been great speaking with each of them. I really also want to say thank you too, to our very good friends and partners at Renew Economy, for hosting today’s session. And please watch this space for more in our Energy Transformed series. Our next podcast will be released towards the end of the month, and it’s going to focus on a deep dive into hydrogen models and off take. So thanks again for your participation and goodbye and have a great day. Thank you. Thanks, everybody.
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