16.1 C
Byron Shire
April 16, 2021

Australia centre stage in global green climate funds

Latest News

Sally Flannery discovers dark side of ‘Lovemore’

Since declaring her interest in running for Lismore Council, local woman Sally Flannery has been subjected to sustained attacks, both online and upon her property.

Other News

Dead rats in the Byron bubble?

Poppa Veet Mayo, Main Arm Am I the only one who can smell a dead rat in this bubble called...

Holiday letting policy adopted by NSW govt

New state rules on short-term holiday lets (STHL) for NSW, announced late last week, won’t be introduced to the Byron Shire until as late as February next year, as the local housing crisis intensifies.

Man charged with assault after death at Coffs Harbour

A man will face court today charged with assault as inquiries continue into the death of a man at Coffs Harbour after an altercation on Saturday.

Inspector condemns prisoner health services

In the forward to the Inspector of Custodial Services Report published last month, Fiona Rafter Inspector of Custodial Services says that the provision of health services to inmates in New South Wales custodial facilities is a complex and challenging responsibility.

Getting the right stuff in your bins in the Tweed

Tweed Council is asking residents to be more careful with what waste they put in which bin – a surprising amount of the area's refuse, both recycling and landfill, ends up in the wrong receptacle.

ALP puts war power reform on the agenda

The Australian Labor Party will hold a public inquiry into how Australia goes to war if elected to government next year.

Howard Bamsey. Photo RenewEconomy
Howard Bamsey. Photo RenewEconomy

Giles Parkinson, RenewEconomy

The political rhetoric about climate and clean energy in the domestic market may suggest Australia is making huge leaps backwards, but things are looking a little different on the international arena.

Over the weekend, long-serving Canberra bureaucrat Howard Bamsey (pictured right) was appointed executive director of the $100 billion Green Climate Fund, one of the crucial bodies in international climate finance, and he has been given the role of steering the fund out of its troubled beginnings.

In the meantime, Australia’s biggest investment bank, Macquarie Group, is said to be one of two bidders short-listed to take control of the UK’s Green Investment Bank, a purchase that will be priced at around £4 billion ($A6.5 billion) that would thrust Macquarie centre stage in the private green finance market.

The two developments suggest that Australia is not totally immune to, or divorced from, international developments on climate change and renewables energy, which are now moving at rapid speed.

Over the weekend, a crucial agreement was reached to reduce emissions from hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) – a particularly potent greenhouse gas – by 85 per cent at the Montreal Protocol meeting held in Kigali, Rwanda.

The move, hailed by the Coalition government, is expected to knock 0.5°C off anticipated global temperature rises, and comes as Australia is rushing to ratify the Paris agreement before the next major climate talks begin in Marrakesh, Morocco, in just over two weeks.

The Paris agreement has been ratified by more than 60 countries representing more than 60 per cent of global emissions, meaning it will come into force in the next few weeks, four years earlier than anticipated when the deal was reached last December.

Australia’s ratification – if it occurs before the Marrakesh meeting – will mean that it can play a key role in talks designed about how to bring that pact into force, notably setting the platform for countries to increase their climate targets over and above those that were brought to the table in Paris.

As it is, Australia will face tough questioning over its Paris commitments before and during the Marrakesh talks, with UN parties posing a list of difficult questions over its targets and commitments, just as it did two years ago in the lead up to Paris.

It is understood that both foreign minister Julie Bishop and energy and environment minister Josh Frydenberg will attend the Marrakesh talks.

In Australia, Macquarie has relatively few renewable energy investments. Graphic supplied
In Australia, Macquarie has relatively few renewable energy investments. Graphic supplied

But there are other signs – apart from the appointment of Bamsey and indirectly the interest of Macquarie, that Australia may be developing one language on climate change for the international stage and another for the toxic and partisan domestic market.

While the local rhetoric has focused on ‘cost and security’ on domestic energy policy, Turnbull last week acknowledged that Australia’s Paris climate commitment will also be a major factor.

‘We need to keep the lights on. We need energy to be affordable—not the most expensive in Australia, as it is in South Australia. And we need to meet our emissions reduction target,’ Turnbull said in Question Time. Analysts say that last phrase in important.

This is the missing link between the Coalition’s attack on South Australia and other Labor states renewable energy targets, and the shortfall between its own policies and its Paris commitments.

And on that point, the language around next year’s review of climate policies has also subtlety changed, moving on from a mere ‘sit rep’ – situation report where current policies are merely assessed – to a likely review of what new policies may actually be needed to meet those Paris targets.

The appointment of Bamsey, however, suggests Australia remains keen to play a prominent role. Bamsey has been one of Australia’s leading climate change negotiators, is a former deputy secretary of the department of climate change, a former special envoy on climate change and a former head of the Australian Greenhouse Office.

He was also on the government’s task force on energy efficiency and notably said, when former prime minister Kevin Rudd signed the Kyoto Treaty in 2007, that it was like ‘coming up from drowning’.

The GCF is key because it will be the means through which developed countries will funnel finance to the developing world, and is one of the key mechanisms of the Paris deal. It will be Bamsey’s job to convince wealthy countries to honour their commitments,’ Climate Change News reported.

So, far the fund has been provided with $US10 billion in donations, and is supposed to act as a distribution point for $100 billion a year by 2020.

But in the year since the fund began approving projects, less than one twentieth of that has been committed and just $US5.4 million has actually been disbursed, leading to concerns in Paris last year that it was dysfunctional.

Bamsey is believed to have won the position ahead of 400 other candidates. Last year, in The Conversation, he wrote that the GCF ‘must succeed and be seen to succeed to keep developing nations in the game. Otherwise the future of international cooperation on climate change will be in jeopardy.’

Bamsey joins another Australian, Ewen McDonald, who is co-chair of the board.

As for Macquarie, it has been a relatively active investor in clean energy projects overseas, but renewable energy still accounts for just two per cent of the asset base of its main investment vehicle.

The GIB was created in 2012 by the UK government to invest in UK-based green infrastructure projects and mobilise private sector capital to co-invest.

It has invested £2.7 billion, and brought together £11 billion in total investment, in offshore wind, energy efficiency, waste and bioenergy, and onshore renewables.

This article was first published in RenewEconomy and is republished here with permission.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

1 COMMENT

  1. The political action of climate change and clean energy in Australia show that the steel towers in South Australia were not strong enough in the fierce winds of objection against it.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

SCU named as partner in two national drought hubs

Southern Cross University has been announced as playing a crucial partnership role in two new Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs.

ALP puts war power reform on the agenda

The Australian Labor Party will hold a public inquiry into how Australia goes to war if elected to government next year.

Help from Red Cross for flood-affected communities in NSW

With disasters coming thick and fast as the climate emergency worsens, Australian Red Cross this morning launched financial help for flood-affected communities in NSW.

Rocky Creek Field Day coming in July

As part of the Rural Landholder Initiative, rural landholders in the Rocky Creek area are invited to an Off-stream Watering and Riparian Habitat Field Day.