The race is on to achieve net zero emissions by mid-century. In the first of Climateworks and the British High Commission’s ‘Building our Future’ webinar series, our panel of experts discussed what it takes to unlock the potential of clean technology, the progress we’ve made around the world in clean energy transition, and what still needs to be done.

Around the world, governments and industry are taking an innovative, collaborative approach in developing important clean technologies.

The Mission Innovation coalition of 24 countries and the EU, and including Australia and the UK, is building momentum around priority challenges. We’re seeing hydrogen receive record investment support and new options open for how we can reduce emissions from historically hard-to-abate sectors. How can Australia and the world best seize these new opportunities, while simultaneously rebuilding economies from recession?

On Tuesday 27 October 2020, Climateworks and the British High Commission hosted Professor John Loughhead, Chair of the International Mission Innovation Steering Committee, Jo Evans the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Industry Science Energy and Resources, Ita Kettleborough the Deputy Director of the Energy Transitions Commission and Anna Skarbek CEO of Climateworks Australia as they focussed on meeting the clean technology challenge. The wide-ranging discussion was facilitated by Brian O’Callahan, Lead of the Oxford University Economic Recovery Project.

You can watch the full recording below.

Read a summary of the event discussion.


Professor John Loughhead
Chair of the International Mission Innovation Steering Committee

Professor John Loughhead CB OBE FREng FTSE FIMechE FIET has extensive international experience in industry, academia and government. In the summer of 2019 John was appointed Chair of the international Mission Innovation Steering Committee. Mission Innovation is the primary intergovernmental forum to progress clean energy innovation and was launched at COP21 in Paris.

He was previously the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). As a CSA, he was called upon for independent, impartial assurance on scientific rigour. His professional career has been predominantly in industrial research and development for the electronics and electrical power industries. 

His industrial experience includes advanced, high power gas turbines; new energy conversion systems; spacecraft thermal management; electrical and materials development for electricity generation and transmission equipment; and electronic control systems.

John is a Chartered Engineer, graduating in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College, London, where he also spent five years in computational fluid dynamics research. Previously the Past-President of the UK’s Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), Fellow of both the UK and Australian national Academies of Engineering, Honorary Professor of Cardiff University and Honorary Fellow of Queen Mary University of London.

Jo Evans
Deputy Secretary at the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources

Jo Evans is Deputy Secretary at the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.  She is responsible for the divisions that work on emissions reduction, including domestic climate change policy, low emissions technology and our international engagement on climate policies. She is also responsible for the Northern Australia & Major Projects Division and the National Measurement Institute.

Ms Evans is also responsible for the Clean Energy Regulator, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Climate Change Authority, the Wind Farm Commissioner and the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility.

Ms Evans has worked in a number of different portfolios in policy, program and corporate roles.  In 2009-10 she was a member of the advisory board that developed the report Ahead of the Game: blueprint for reform of Australian Government administration.

Prior to joining the APS in 2000, Ms Evans worked for management consultants McKinsey & Company.

Ms Evans has a Masters of Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, a Masters in Environmental Science from the University of Melbourne and a combined bachelor degree in Asian studies and economics (honours) from the Australian National University.

Ita Kettleborough
Deputy Director Energy Transitions Commission

Ita Kettleborough, is the Deputy Director of the Energy Transitions Commission, A global coalition of leaders from across the energy landscape committed to achieving net-zero emissions by mid-century.

In her role, Ita works with policymakers and business to help shape international policy and accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon economy.  She is responsible for coordinating the ETC’s international programmes in Europe, India and China and helping to set up an ETC presence in other key markets.

Following China’s recent announcement that it intended to achieve climate neutrality before 2060, Ita works with the ETC team in Beijing to encourage specific action in the 2020s.  In addition, she is working with ETC India to help inform the next round of government strategies in 2020-21, including the revision of India’s Nationally Defined Contribution.

Prior to this, Ita worked as a policy advisor at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. As a core member of the team delivering the 2017 Industrial Strategy White Paper, Ita developed the UK’s ‘Grand Challenges,’ including the Clean Growth Challenge. This included brokering consensus across critical government, civil service and industry stakeholders. A Manchester native, Ita attended St Bede’s College in Manchester from 2001-2008. She then attended Harvard University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies. She is passionate about her work and her personal goal is to support political and business leaders in delivering a net-zero economy.

Anna Skarbek
CEO Climateworks Australia

Anna Skarbek is the CEO of Climateworks Australia, working to develop the low carbon economy. A former banker and green policy adviser, Anna has led Climateworks since its creation in 2009, analysing emissions reduction opportunities and partnering with business and government to unblock barriers to their implementation. Climateworks’ independent and non-partisan approach, co-founded by The Myer Foundation and Monash University, sees her working with multiple federal government departments as well as State governments and large corporates. She works with other stakeholders including investors, business, environment and civil society leaders.

Anna was a founding director of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation from 2012-2017, and is a director of Impact Investment Group, the Green Building Council of Australia and of the Centre for New Energy Technologies. She is a member of the Blueprint Institute’s strategic advisory council and the Grattan Institute’s energy program reference panel and is the 2020 Mission Innovation Champion for Australia. She is a former director of the Carbon Market Institute, the Linking Melbourne Authority and Amnesty International Australia. She was a member of the Australian Government’s Energy White Paper reference panel, Land Sector Carbon and Biodiversity Board and NGO Roundtable on Climate Change, and of Victoria’s Independent Review of the Climate Change Act and South Australia’s Low Carbon Economy Expert Panel.

Anna has a background as an investment banker, policy advisor and lawyer. Before Climateworks, she worked in London’s carbon markets as Vice President of Advisory with Climate Change Capital, an investment manager raising capital for low carbon activities. Anna’s prior career in Australia included senior policy advisor to the Victorian Deputy Premier, investment banker in Macquarie Bank’s energy and utilities team, and solicitor with Mallesons Stephen Jaques. She served on the board of The Big Issue and Amnesty International Australia including as National Treasurer.

She has a Bachelor of Commerce/Law with Honours from Monash University. She is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has completed leadership and management programs at Oxford University’s Said Business School and Melbourne University’s Business School.


Brian O’Callaghan
Lead Researcher and Project Manager of the Oxford University Economic Recovery Project and Consultant to the Robertson Foundation and Boston Consulting Group

Brian O’Callaghan is Lead Researcher and Project Manager of the Oxford University Economic Recovery Project. He is an Australian Rhodes Scholar and Consultant at the Robertson Foundation, covering topics in Energy and the Environment. He is also a consultant to government and business groups on issues relating to the energy and climate transitions.

Brian’s core research concerns the economic, social, and environmental impacts of fiscal spending. He is particularly interested in the role that green fiscal spending initiatives can have in times of economic contraction (for instance, in dealing with the COVID-19 global recession). His supplementary research interests include the economics of green hydrogen and methods for reducing perceived risk in renewable energy finance.

Brian is on a leave of absence from Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Before BCG Brian was a Junior Fellow for the Australian Centre for Innovation and International Competitiveness. Brian holds undergraduate degrees in Engineering (First Class Honours with the University Medal) and Commerce (Finance and International Business) from the University of Sydney.


Presented by Climateworks Australia and the British High Commission

In the lead up to COP26 the pressure is on to bring new ambition to emission reduction targets. This series of three events looks at how we can realise our decarbonisation potential and drive cleaner economic growth. We focus on energy and industry transitions through clean technology and how business, cities and governments can join the race to net zero. Hear from experts across the pond and on home ground, as they unlock the possibilities.