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An Australian renewable energy project could power most of Singapore

December 28, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 22.9%. 2 min read.

With states and industry forging ahead on climate solutions, the country's most impactful climate action might not come from the man leading the nation.

As the country experiences devastating bush fires and record temperatures, public opinion is in favor of greater action on the climate crisis, protecting the country's precious natural heritage, and investments in renewable energy, surveys show, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his government remain entwined with the powerful fossil fuel industry.

Recently, Morrison said Australia was aiming to reach zero emissions as soon as possible, but wouldn't give a timeline.

In the private sector, businesses are investing in innovative renewable mega-energy projects, taking advantage of Australia's world-class wind and solar resources.

One project is set to power a large chunk of Singapore's electricity needs via an undersea cable, and another aims to build a huge renewable power station that could be a game changer for Australia in becoming a leading exporter of green hydrogen.

Speaking to Sky News, NSW Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean said: "The reality is 70% of our two-way trade are now with countries committed to achieve net zero emissions," adding that the new projects will "set us up to not only be an energy superpower but an economic superpower. "

Green hydrogen is manufactured with renewable energy -- such as solar or wind -- so it would eliminate those polluting emissions.

Green hydrogen is gaining traction among governments and businesses pledging to slash their emissions completely by 2050, and has the potential to clean up energy-intensive industries such as transport and construction that are more difficult to electrify.

McKenzie of the Climate Council adds that "a lot of Australian businesses now, are committing to 100% renewable energy," and calling on the federal government to do more.

"Adani's Carmichael mine is a much smaller mine than many others in Queensland and when the coal is used overseas the amount of carbon dioxide that will be produced will represent less than 0. 04% of Australia's emissions and less than 0. 0006% of global emissions, which is not enough to have an impact on the Great Barrier Reef. "

At the heart of Australia's potential green energy transition is this tension between the nation's history as a fossil fuel powerhouse and its obligation reduce emissions to stop catastrophic climate change.

While states and business are making strong moves, if Australia is going to become a leader in the renewable revolution, experts say the federal government has to step up, too.

Hare said that while some energy-intensive industries -- such as mining -- are moving to renewables for some of their operations, "it isn't at scale yet, and it won't happen at scale until governments all get on the game with the right type sort incentives. "

With a strong renewable energy and emissions target, the federal government could capitalize on the economic opportunities that Australia's natural advantages offer -- and protect the country from an onslaught of climate damage such as worsening bushfires and droughts, rising sea levels, and more extreme weather.

The government "needs to accelerate and coordinate all the efforts that are going on, to make sure that it can be ratcheted up very quickly, so that Australia's very high emissions can plummet, if we're going to protect our national interest," said McKenzie.

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