12 November 2014
Getting the balance right - linking GDP and Emissions in addressing Climate Change
Origin's Managing Director, Grant King has today called for action by Australia on climate change to be connected to global initiatives and to explicitly recognise the link between carbon emissions and economic growth.
Mr King said, "Climate change, and the need to minimise carbon emissions, is a significant global challenge. Coordinated international action is required that recognises the interdependency of carbon emissions with economic growth and improving living standards, especially in developing countries.
"Australia's response should be in line with global action but should not make our industries uncompetitive, which would likely move carbon intensive activity to less efficient countries therefore increasing global carbon emissions.
"Australia can play a role not just through setting targets for reducing emissions in Australia, but also by exporting lower emissions energy to developing countries with huge energy growth requirements and currently very high emissions intensity economies.
"We need a national energy vision which promotes economic prosperity, which encourages the development of Australia as an exporter of abundant, affordable and lower-emissions energy, and which decarbonises our electricity sector over the longer term.
"There are roles for renewable energy, for natural gas, and for new technologies such as battery storage, smart metering and smart electricity grid management. One of our challenges will be finding an orderly means of moving from predominantly coal-fired power generation today, to predominantly gas and renewable generation over time," said Mr King.
Commenting on a report released today by Deloitte Access Economics, "Emissions metrics – Australia's carbon footprint in the G20", Mr King said: "The countries comprising the G20 are responsible for 76 per cent of global carbon emissions and 85 per cent of global GDP. How the world measures and seeks to improve carbon efficiency will be critical to both climate change action and ongoing global growth and development, including improving living standards in developing countries."
The research, undertaken by Deloitte, states that the popular measure of carbon emissions per capita fails to simply communicate the ongoing need to grow economic prosperity and improve world living standards. A better measure is carbon emissions per unit of production (expressed as GDP). The research is supported by Origin.
Deloitte's report shows that Australia's performance as measured in carbon emissions per unit of GDP is better than the G20 average. Over time, Australia's emissions intensity has reduced, and at a faster rate than the G20 average.
Mr King said, "Global action must move the emissions intensity curve to the left - that is, reduce the carbon emissions required to produce each unit of GDP, of wealth, of prosperity.
"All countries must contribute to doing this, but may contribute in different ways. Energy is a large producer of carbon emissions, but is also essential to modern life. It must be provided to all people of the world - reliably, at an affordable cost and in an environmentally responsible way. Balancing these often competing objectives will be challenging," said Mr King.
Origin has a long history of supporting the development of renewable solutions, both domestically and further afield, and has diverse interests including:
- The contracted offtaker of Australia's newest wind farm, the 270 MW Snowtown II facility in South Australia.
- Origin's majority-owned Contact Energy business in New Zealand which officially opened a new 166MW geothermal renewable energy facility in August.
- Exploring geothermal energy development options in Chile via Energía Andina S.A. (EASA) and through Origin Tata power geothermal in Indonesia.
- Origin's 37.5 per cent owned Australia Pacific LNG facility is on track for first LNG in mid-2015 with full production expected from both trains by the end of FY2016, substituting coal for gas, and thereby reducing emissions.
- More than 75,000 direct solar PV installations, and more than 360,000 Origin customers with solar PV installed.
- Driving the development of the GreenPower market and providing Australia's only GreenGas products with around 400,000 total green energy customer accounts.
- Introduction of innovative, efficient smart-meter based energy management technology and charging solutions for electric vehicles, with continuing research and development in these areas.
Read the full Deloitte Access Economics Report Emissions metrics - Australia's carbon footprint in the G20 (1.17MB)
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