New research supports what is already being felt in Australia and around the world: climate change is happening faster than ever anticipated, bringing with it greater repercussions.

Anna Skarbek
Anna Skarbek CEO

At the first ever UN-convened Climate Action Summit, and surrounding events in New York in September 2019, a sense of urgency was palpable. The United in Science report, endorsed by the UN Climate Action Summit, was resolute. To limit emissions in line with a 1.5° degrees future, our ambition must increase fivefold. Even a 2° ceiling requires tripling our current action.

While these findings can be interpreted as daunting, we see them another way: as an opportunity for global change with economic, social and environmental benefits. In this new decade, a transformational climate response is needed.

For Climateworks, 2019 was a year of consolidating existing programs and exploring new opportunities. Programs years in the making came to fruition alongside exploration into new areas and approaches.

Energy and industry

  • Partnerships and collaborations underpinned our work in energy and industry for 2019.
  • In Australia, we partnered with Climate-KIC Australia in collaboration with the global Energy Transitions Commission, Rocky Mountain Institute and CSIRO to initiate a supply chain project with industry.
  • In Indonesia, we established a consortium for the development of a roadmap for Indonesia’s Electricity sector.
  • In March, we customised a version of our SMART tool and Horizon to Horizon guide for leaders in Vietnam. This work was presented at the Asia Clean Energy forum, where we shared our findings to increase awareness of mitigation actions.

Cities and settlements

  • In 2019, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council announced its support for the trajectory approach presented in Built to Perform, our work in partnership with the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) from 2018.
  • The program developed an industry-led pathway for energy requirements within the National Construction Code.
  • Our vision for Australia’s low carbon future was presented at the Renewable Cities Conference, sharing with local government a positive goal they can work towards.
  • We partnered with the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) and ASBEC, to explore and define the role infrastructure can play in achieving a net zero emissions future. The Issues Paper is a conversation-starter for key infrastructure stakeholders as part of a broader Reshaping Infrastructure initiative.
  • We examined the role of buses in electric-powered fleets, a continuation of our 2017 research into electric vehicles.
  • We showcased links between air pollution and climate change in Southeast Asia, publishing our findings with the Globe Post.

Food and land

  • Our dedicated Land Use Futures team tackles the interrelated sustainability challenges facing Australia’s food and land use system.
  • In 2019, the team delivered a national suite of workshops for industry leaders and stakeholders around Australia.
  • The workshops culminated in a National Summit, held during Climate Week in Brisbane, delivered in partnership with NAB and the Queensland Government.
  • Over 150 participants came together to advise on a subsequent roadmap for the future of natural capital in Australia. The roadmap, released in October 2019, identified the importance of valuing natural assets in financial terms.
  • Along with project partners CSIRO and Deakin University, we contributed to the FABLE (Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land-use and Energy) Consortium report, Pathways to Sustainable Land-Use and Food Systems.
  • We were included as a core partner for the global Food and Land Use (FOLU) Coalition, and contributed to their major global report published at the 2019 Climate Week New York.
  • We partnered with NAB to incubate an initiative for Natural Capital Investment.

Whole of economy

  • We worked with CSIRO on the Australian National Outlook. This comprehensive body of work identified Australia’s most significant economic, social and environmental challenges.
  • Climateworks CEO Anna Skarbek worked with Chris Barrett – then Executive Director, Finance and Economics, European Climate Foundation, now CEO, Invest Victoria – to publish Climate Risk and the Financial System.
  • Climateworks was cited in the independent expert advice on interim targets, as part of the Victorian Government implementing the Climate Change Act 2017.
  • In partnering with the Monash Sustainable Development Institute, we delivered our first executive education program. Climate Change and Business Risk: Developing a Strategic Approach.
  • Internationally, we partnered with Vivid Economics, analysing opportunities for comparative advantage in a decarbonising world for Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
  • Extending our Deep Decarbonisation Pathways Project, we are creating an Investment Vision Guide. Working with IDDRI and funded by an IKI grant from the German government this framework will support the translation of long term decarbonisation pathways into Paris-compatible investment plans, unlocking capital flows.

Tracking progress

  • In 2019, together with the Monash Sustainable Development Institute, we created the Net Zero Momentum Tracker.
  • Reports for property, banking and local government sectors have already been released with retail, transport, superannuation, mining and state government sectors still to come.
  • The program team has met with significant stakeholders from each sector, presenting personalised sets of findings for internal consideration.

As a philanthropically funded organisation, all our wins are shared with our generous donors.

Our supporters are key to our role as a trusted, independent, evidence-based adviser for climate solutions. Thank you for your support in 2019. We look forward to working together in 2020.

CEO, Climateworks Australia

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