Cooperation with the US could drive Australia’s clean energy shift – but we must act fast

A new pact between Australia and the United States highlights the pivotal role our nation’s mineral wealth will play in the clean energy transition. But it also underscores the massive effort now required from Australia.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and US President Joe Biden inked the landmark deal in Japan over the weekend. It cements cooperation between the two nations on climate action, including sharing resources and coordinating on clean energy policy and investment.

Australia and the US have been allies since the end of the Second World War. The new agreement adds climate action as a “third pillar” of the alliance between the two nations, along with defence and economic cooperation.

The enhanced partnership could accelerate Australia’s transition from major fossil fuel exporter to clean energy powerhouse. But success is far from assured. Australia must act fast to seize the opportunity now before us.

The deal could accelerate Australia’s transition to a clean energy powerhouse – if we play our cards right.
Russell Freeman/AAP

Allies in a warming world

The Australia-US alliance was not established with a warming planet in mind. However, the climate crisis is now recognised as a national security threat in both Australia and the US.

In both countries, defence agencies have been increasingly involved in disaster relief operations following unprecedented extreme weather events supercharged by climate change. They include the Black Summer bushfires in Australia and Hurricane Ian in the US.

Climate change continues to worsen – and Australia and the US must share some blame. The emissions targets and broader climate policies of both nations are not consistent with achieving the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to 1.5℃.

Both Australia and the US need to accelerate the shift from fossil fuels to clean energy technologies. This includes ending coal-fired power, moving beyond gas and investing in renewables infrastructure. It also requires re-thinking personal transport and decarbonising heavy industries such as steel and cement.

The new climate pact between the two countries recognises the urgent task at hand. It could …


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