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Professor Rod Sims AO & Professor Ross Garnaut AC

Directors for the Superpower Institute
Realising Australia’s economic and climate opportunities

Wednesday, 14 February 2024

The National Press Club of Australia

Professor Rod Sims AO, Chair of the Superpower Institute and Professor Ross Garnaut AC, Director of the Superpower Institute, Director Zen Energy, Member of the Net Zero Economy Agency Advisory Board will Address the National Press Club of Australia on 'Realising Australia’s economic and climate opportunities'

Rod Sims AO  is the Chair of the Superpower Institute (TSI) and Ross Garnaut AC is a Director. They will address the National Press Club to present a bold plan for Australian Climate and Economic policy. 

TSI is dedicated to doing the analysis and advocating for the policies that will simultaneously benefit Australia’s economy and the world’s climate.  Given the size of the transition needed these two policy areas—economic policy and climate--must merge; they are today separate.

Our Speakers will seek to dramatically change the narrative around climate and economic policy.  Without such a change in narrative Australia will continue to underperform on both the economy and climate change. They will explain why climate policy belongs  at the heart of macroeconomic, productivity and budget policy. Further, if Australia maximises its contribution to global net zero this will be an economic plus for Australia, not a drag.

Australia is the world’s largest exporter of LNG and coal taken together. Many focus on the costs of losing what has been our large comparative advantage in these commodities.  But Australia has the world’s best combinations of wind and solar energy resources and complementary resources to use them. It has enormous sources of biomass relative to population and economic size for a zero-emissions chemical industry.  The transition to net zero flips the economics. In a net zero world it will now make sense for a high proportion of the minerals and other products that are currently processed overseas, with large carbon emissions, to be processed in Australia using our huge renewable energy resources and biomass potential. 

Australia’s economic advantages relative to the rest of the world are so significant that their large-scale utilisation would materially improve the prospects of achieving the world’s climate objectives.  In addition to our over 1% of world emissions now in Australia we could remove around another 6-9% of global emissions that other countries will find very difficult to abate. Processing our iron ore into green iron in Australia would alone reduce world emissions by 3%.  Australia covers about 5% of the earth’s land surface; supplying about 6-9% of the world’s renewable energy is no stretch given our abundant solar, wind and land resources.

With the right climate and economic policies Australia can:

  • Significantly boost its productivity, economic growth and prosperity,
  • Have continuing full employment,
  • Have more equal incomes,
  • Improve its budget, which can allow more social spending, protect us from international shocks and keep us internationally competitive and
  • Have much lower electricity prices.

Australia currently, however, faces rising unemployment, stagnant productivity and a fall in the living standards of most Australians.

Most important, and for the first time, they will outline the appropriate policies to achieve all of the above.

Such policies will:

  • Address the important and difficult issues that will arise from the Governments recent announcements on the Capacity Investment Scheme for the electricity sector,
  • Facilitate the necessary and massive investment that needs to be made in green energy-intensive exports, which current policies fail to do,
  • Outline how best to deal with Australia’s continuing export of coal and gas, which is an issue that divides Australia and currently has no direction,
  • Provide the correct response by Australia to the US Inflation Reduction Act,
  • Allow Australia to be a large beneficiary of the EC’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism,
  • Untangle the current confusion with trade policy in Australia and around the world, and
  • See electricity prices fall significantly for Australian households.


Australia needs a bold plan on many fronts; these speakers propose to  provide one.


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