Anthony Albanese has urged greater investment in renewable energy throughout the Indo-Pacific as a means of addressing climate and economic issues.
In a speech at the Sydney Energy Forum on Tuesday, the prime minister called for more people in the sector to work together on clean energy investments in a bid to help reach net-zero targets.
Mr Albanese said it would be critical for investment to increase across the region in the sector, to limit the effects of climate change.
“It is essential that the unprecedented levels of investment in clean energy technologies required over the coming decades unlocks more diverse and secure supply chains than we have today,” he said.
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“Together, we can ensure better access to affordable, reliable and secure clean energy right across the Indo-Pacific as we move to a net-zero world.”
The Indo-Pacific region accounted for 80 per cent of private investment globally in clean energy in 2021.
“This will only increase because if the world is to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, our investment in clean energy must more than triple,” Mr Albanese said.
“Meeting this demand will require a renewable energy supply around six times greater than our region’s current annual solar and wind energy generation. The numbers shouldn’t daunt us. They should energise us.”
The focus on the Indo-Pacific in the address comes as the prime minister prepares to fly to Fiji on Wednesday for the Pacific Islands Forum in Suva.
The forum will have climate change high on the agenda.
Mr Albanese said the country’s greater emphasis on renewable energy as part of Australia’s power-supply mix was welcomed by Pacific nations.
“Australia will once again be a trusted global partner on climate action,” he said.
“I am ambitious about what we can achieve together.”
The speech comes after an energy supply crisis across much of Australia’s east coast, forcing the market operator to intervene.
The prime minister said the energy situation was challenging, following a lack of investment from the previous government in renewables.
International Energy Agency executive director Fatih Birol congratulated Australia for its stronger climate targets, which the government intends to legislate when parliament returns later this month.
Dr Birol, who acknowledged the world was enduring its “worst global energy crisis”, said government responses were pointing to the crisis being a turning point in policy.
“When I look at governments today, their agendas for a clean energy future are driven by economic realities, clear climate commitments, and at the same time, national security factors,” he told the forum.
“These three factors coming together is a very powerful combination and I see many countries are seeking clean energy technologies as a response to the current crisis.”
Energy Minister Chris Bowen has flagged he will introduce to parliament legislation to lock emissions-reduction targets into law during the first sitting week of the term.
In June, the government took a climate policy of a 43 per cent cut in emissions by 2030 and net-zero by 2050 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The legislation would require the minister to report annually on government progress in meeting climate targets.