Having led Climateworks’ program teams through a period of rapid growth, senior executive Ian Porter has announced he will move on to a high-level position within the Australian Government.

Ian will take up the role of Strategic Advisor, Net Zero, in the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts

Ian, who came to Climateworks with more than three decades of experience across climate change, energy and sustainability, said arriving at Climateworks ‘felt a lot like coming home’.

‘Immediately, I saw people I knew,’ he said, noting that Climateworks draws people from across the public, academic, not-for-profit and private sectors.

‘There were people I had dealt with and worked with on climate from all of those areas,’ he said.

Ian Porter
Ian Porter

CEO Anna Skarbek said Climateworks had been fortunate to learn from Ian’s breadth of knowledge.

‘Climateworks has benefited from Ian’s senior experience in government, industry and not-for-profits,’ Anna said. 

‘We have also benefited from Ian’s warmth, humour and his sense of fun.’

Shared mission and purpose

Ian said the first thing that struck him about Climateworks was ‘the sheer level of energy in the place’.

At the time, he said, Melbourne’s lockdowns were just being lifted and Climateworks staff were ‘joyful at being back in each other’s company’.

‘It was clear that here was a group of people who enjoyed working together and shared a mission and a purpose, and were committed to that mission and purpose,’ Ian said.

‘It was also clear that all of the clever ideas, the penetrating analysis and the valuable thoughts that I’d seen in coming out of Climateworks for many years was not stuff that people dreamed up alone in a room, but was the product of deep thinking, deep conversation and thorough analysis.’

Ian joined Climateworks as the organisation was focusing its attention on how to make deep, ongoing change in seven specific systems.

‘We weren’t dealing with the symptoms anymore — we were going right down into the root causes,’ Ian said.

‘That approach is now very much embedded in how everyone thinks.’

Ian said he’s proud to see governments and businesses make decisions that Climateworks has helped frame and influence.

‘I’ve seen changes in the way governments think about climate,’ Ian said. ‘The work we’ve done with the States has been part of the ongoing positive arms race between jurisdictions in Australia, towards stronger climate targets and better targeted climate policies.

‘I’ve seen changes in our building codes. I’ve seen changes in the way we think about electric vehicles.

‘I’ve seen Climateworks bring together more than 25 percent of the Australian stock exchange, the hardest to abate emitters, and get them to commit to working towards a 1.5 degree target.

‘This is a huge change in the way those sectors think — and a huge change in the voices that are heard by government and other decision makers as they approach climate as a policy problem.’