Energy expert calls on Australia to follow the leaders

18 May 2015

Australia is uniquely placed to capitalise on a climate deal made by the US and China, according to former EU Council President Manuel Pinho who is a Visiting Professor at the UQ School of Economics this month.

Professor Pinho said the deal, which was brokered in November to cut carbon emissions by up to 28 per cent, should prompt Australia’s policy makers to act.

“This deal is good news because it will help fight climate change and remove uncertainty,” Prof. Pinho said.

“Australia now has a unique opportunity to invest with less risk in technologies such as wind and solar.

“The country has splendid natural conditions to develop renewable energies and the necessary skills.

“Australia can benefit from the example of countries in the EU that developed business models which deliver fast development of renewable energies at a lower cost.”

Professor Pinho said Australian governments should not be worried about transitioning towards a low carbon economy.

“Climate change is not an enemy of investment, business and job creation. The enemy is uncertainty about climate policies,” he said.

“I believe that Australia has the opportunity to follow with pragmatic policies and will be successful.”

Professor Pinho said Australia should also be excited about its liquefied natural gas industry.

“The fastest growing markets are in the region and this is important because natural gas will be the energy source of the next decade, given its lower price and carbon content,” he said.

Professor Pinho delivered his research on Global Energy Policy in a free public lecture hosted by the UQ School of Economics last Thursday evening.

The lecture was attended by several industry representatives and members of state and local government departments, as well as Professor Pinho's Global Energy Policy students and fellow UQ staff.

The School of Economics would like to thank Professor Pinho for his thought-provoking lecture and the time he devoted to answering questions from the audience.

Professor Pinho served as the Portuguese Minister for Economy and Innovation from 2005-2009, is a Columbia University Professor, and guest professor at the Beijing Foreign Studies University in China.