With the new federal government declaring it will make Australia a “renewable superpower”, China dominating clean energy supply chains and Russia’s war in Ukraine disrupting the global energy market, it’s now a pivotal moment for Australia to shape the future of clean energy within the Indo-Pacific.
A new report from the Perth USAsia Centre, in collaboration with the Climate Council, recommends five practical actions for Australia to secure its clean energy economic and strategic advantages in the Indo-Pacific:
- Promote the many economic, strategic and energy security benefits of clean energy in the region.
- Diversify clean energy supply chains and supply relationships so that all countries in the region enjoy more equitable access and greater energy resilience.
- Develop a dedicated clean energy diplomacy program with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade that provides assistance to developing countries and leverages Australia’s key advantages.
- Expand the reach of our clean energy advocacy beyond economic and political capacity to increase inclusiveness and better governance.
- Work with all allies and partners, under the leadership of the Quad, to develop a true multilateral Indo-Pacific clean energy program that promotes coordination and collaboration and protects against risk.
Released ahead of a major international forum on energy supply chains – the Sydney Energy Forum (July 12-13) – the report, Reinvigorating Indo-Pacific Relations: Australia’s Clean Energy Opportunityexplains that the Indo-Pacific is central to the global shift from fossil fuels to clean energy systems, the ramifications for Australia’s economic and strategic interests and the leading role our country could play.
Global warming is a significant threat to the security of all countries, but those in the Indo-Pacific region are among the most vulnerable. More affordable and available renewable energy can improve energy security and erode troublesome interdependencies in the region. However, significant hurdles need to be overcome, including China’s dominance in the global energy sector.
“The necessary transition from fossil fuels to clean energy systems is reshaping Indo-Pacific relations. Australian government and industry should work to ensure supply chains and emerging interdependencies advance our national interest,” said report author James Bowen.
China’s current dominance in global clean energy sectors has created vulnerabilities for both the energy transition and the broader system of Indo-Pacific relations. Diversifying supply chains and relationships is key to the clean energy transition, and countries like Australia have untapped potential to improve supply chain resilience and create a fairer and better Indo-Pacific transition. governed.
Australia’s role in the regional energy landscape is currently as a major supplier of coal and gas to the Indo-Pacific economies. However, the shift to net zero emissions has profoundly changed Australia’s economic outlook. Economies like Japan and Korea will continue to want Australian exports, but they now expect clean energy alternatives.
“Australia has emerging clean energy strengths in critical minerals, technology, resources and industrial goods sectors. Strengthening cooperation with partners and allies could unleash the country’s vast economic and strategic potential in a decarbonized Indo-Pacific,” continued Bowen.
Climate Council senior researcher Dr Wesley Morgan added: “The growing economic benefits of renewable energy are driving an unprecedented global energy transition and the Indo-Pacific is at its heart. The upcoming Sydney Energy Forum presents a huge opportunity for Australia to shape the future of clean energy cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
“There is no doubt that Australia’s economic and strategic interests are now linked to driving a rapid transition to clean energy.”
With its natural resources and geopolitical alignments, Australia has the potential to become a clean energy superpower. Now is the time for Australia to accelerate clean energy and associated climate action and secure its economic and strategic advantage in the Indo-Pacific clean energy future.
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