Dr Rebecca Huntley with Aware Super chief executive Deanne Stewart
Dr Rebecca Huntley with Aware Super chief executive Deanne Stewart

COVID-19 an opportunity to shape better Australia

A new report headed by renowned social researcher Dr Rebecca Huntley has reinforced that a return to pre-pandemic normal would be a major wasted opportunity for Australia in terms of climate, social and economic outcomes. 

“I wanted to show that despite COVID-19 there’s this momentum from the public, from business and from government to act on climate,” Dr Huntley said. 

Commissioned by Aware Super, the report pointed to evidence that strengthening Australia’s climate targets and policies to net zero by 2050 could create $63 billion in new investment opportunities. 

It also highlighted figures showing with the right policy measures, 76,000 jobs could be created around large-scale renewable energy projects in just the next three years. 

“For such a long time there’s been this kind of idea that we have to choose between acting on climate and building a strong economy and creating jobs,” Dr Huntley said. 

“And in fact all of the economic modelling and all of the expert opinion in the report shows that’s not the case.”

Electric appliances cheaper than gas 

For homes in WA, going all electric may actually be cheaper than gas, according to a report from industry veterans, Renew. 

Based on modelling for homes in Perth and Albany, the study compared appliance options for heating, hot water and cooking.

It concluded that for both new and existing homes, the most economic options were reverse cycle air conditioners, heat pump hot water systems and induction cooktops.

Renew policy and research manager Dean Lombard said that converting all appliances to electric and disconnecting from gas could save homes $2400 over ten years.

For new homes, installing electric appliances and adding a rooftop solar system could save between $7500 and $10500 over ten years.

The report recommended that when an old gas appliance needs replacing, choose an efficient electric option, and that all new homes are built to be all-electric. It also called for assistance for disadvantaged consumers to replace old appliances.

Macquarie marks record profit with sustainability pledge 

Investment behemoth Macquarie has marked a record $3.02 billion profit with a pledge to achieve net zero operational emissions by 2025. 

The company said it will also align its financing activity with the global goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

As part of the commitment, Macquarie will set science-based emissions targets for its financing activities, and work with clients to identify emission reduction opportunities.

Macquarie said it would work with oil and gas companies in its portfolio to “deliver a managed transition to decarbonise and reduce the emissions intensity of their activities.”

It will also seek to invest further in renewable energy and climate mitigation solutions including zero emissions transport, hydrogen, carbon sequestration, nature-based solutions, and climate resilient infrastructure.

Victorian government outlines emissions reduction targets

The Victorian government has backed up its 2050 net zero targets with a strategy and interim targets.

It’s aiming to reduce emissions by 28-33 per cent by 2025 and 45-50 per cent by 2030.

How to deal with our waste and who should pay – From The Fifth Estate

The strategy includes a commitment to power all government buildings and infrastructure with 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2025, including schools, hospitals, police stations and metro trains.

The strategy also includes reducing emissions in transport, including a $3000 subsidy for buying EVs, and a carbon farming program.

ALDI Australia commits to zero waste

ALDI Australia is pursuing zero waste to landfill by 2025. 

The ambitious target is backed up with strategies such as doubling food rescued for animal feed that is no longer fit for human consumption, selling imperfect fruit and veg and trialing in-store recycling services in which common materials including coffee capsules and soft plastics can be recycled

The Materials & Embodied Carbon Leaders’ Alliance goes live

The Materials & Embodied Carbon Leaders’ Alliance (MECLA) group was officially launched last month. The group is a collaborative effort made up of businesses involved in the use and manufacture of building materials with the mandate to reduce the embodied carbon in building materials. 

The steel, cement and aluminium industries alone produce about 7-9 per cent of annual global greenhouse emissions each.

AMP signs PPA on office portfolio

AMP Capital has signed a seven-year renewable Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Diamond Energy, linked to solar farms in central NSW. 

The financial services giant will procure and retire renewable energy certificates that match 100 per cent of its Wholesale Office Fund’s base building electricity consumption.

The contract is to purchase approximately 25 GWh (giga-watt-hours) of electricity per year, equivalent to the entire output of two solar farms. 

According to Head of Sustainability, for AMP Capital’s Real Estate team, Chris Nunn, the cost of electricity under the new deal is approximately 5 per cent lower than what the fund was previously paying.

AMP has a Zero Net Carbon target for its entire managed real estate portfolio by 2030.

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