The immense opportunity of climate change

Dealing with climate change has always felt like a slog. Like we need to take our medicine in order to fight off calamity. In some respects this is correct, especially for countries without access to a lot of low-emissions power.

But reading Superpower by Ross Garnaut makes me realise that there is a huge opportunity. Especially for countries with access to large quantities of wind, solar, hydro and tidal power.

…Australia’s resource base placed it well for the energy transition: it had a wide range of high-quality renewable energy resources and economically favourable opportunities for geosequestration of emissions from traditional coal and gas generation… Australia’s hydro-electric resources and potential for pumped hydro-electric storage (PHS) in the Snowy Mountains and Tasmania, and perhaps its proximity to the immense hydro-electricity resources on the island of New Guinea, would play big roles in balancing solar and wind….

There’s already a company raising funds to supply a fifth of Singapore’s energy via an undersea cable from a solar farm in Australia.

But Garnaut goes further, pointing out that the more other countries put a price on carbon, the greater advantage there is for a country with Australia’s capacity to generate low-emissions electricity.

A price on embedded carbon would make imports from polluting industries and countries more expensive.

Australia is the largest exporter in the world of mineral ores requiring energy-intensive processing for conversion into metals. Australia in the post-carbon world could become the locus of energy-intensive processing of minerals for use in countries with inferior renewable energy resource endowments. Second, there are opportunities for export of hydrogen produced by electrolysis from renewable energy, through liquefaction or through ammonia as a hydrogen carrier. The natural markets are the renewable-energy-resource-poor countries of Asia, notably Japan and Korea.

Tackling climate change could move Australia up the industrial stack. It could rejuvenate manufacturing, countering some of the advantages of automation, geography and low cost labour. It should even benefit regional areas, as manufacturing is located near power generation.

But, most importantly, this isn’t just an argument for investment in renewable energy. Countries like Australia have a clear incentive to encourage everyone to cap, price and reduce emissions, to invest in moonshot technologies.

The more action on climate change the more competitive we become.

Lanka Briefly for 17/01/2020

Morning all,

Here’s today’s headlines:


  • Ranjan’s disclosure likely ground for defence against BASL-filed defamation case (The Island)
  • ‘guru tharuwa’ fades away (Daily Mirror)
  • Anil Koswatte new Litro Gas Chairman; new faces on Board (Daily FT)
  • Iraj cruises to Tourism Promotion board of directors? (Republic Next)
  • Fresh storm in teacup (Daily FT)
  • Ranjan remanded till Jan.29 (Daily Mirror)
  • Opinion

  • Help fight cruelty to animals (The Island)
  • How We Shape Our Morals (Colombo Telegraph)
  • Introduction to Unicode and how to type and store in Sinhala using Unicode fonts (Daily FT)
  • Replacing the 300MW proposed expansion of Norochcholai Power Plant with a floating solar power plant in Puttalam Lagoon (Daily FT)
  • Hybrid warfare: No winners, no ceasefire (Daily Mirror)
  • Symposium On Academic Dependency & Indigenous Knowledge: The Role Of Social Sciences (Colombo Telegraph)
  • Business

  • US-based equity firm becomes second largest share holder in Softlogic Life Insurance (The Island)
  • SL has stocks of fuel to draw if war breaks out in the Gulf -CPC (Republic Next)
  • Daraz partners with Department of Samurdhi Development to uplift rural entrepreneurs (Daily FT)
  • People’s Bank celebrates Thai Pongal (The Island)
  • Challenges faced by the Sri Lankan maritime industry in 2020 (The Island)
  • GSEA Sri Lanka seeks next generation of student entrepreneurs for 6th consecutive year (Daily FT)
  • World

  • The knives are out for Bernie Sanders, which is good news for him (ABC)
  • Trump impeachment: Chief Justice John Roberts and senators sworn in as trial begins – live (The Guardian)
  • Panama: 7 killed in bizarre religious ritual (Deutsche Welle)
  • Libya’s Haftar secretly flies to Greece ahead of Berlin summit (Al Jazeera English)
  • Spanish billionaire fined $84 million for smuggling Picasso artwork (ABC)
  • France: Far-right Marine Le Pen to run for president again (Deutsche Welle)
  • Climate

  • What is climate change? (BBC News)
  • Germany moves forward with 40 billion-euro plan to exit all coal generation by 2038 (IEEFA)
  • Why action on climate change gets stuck and what to do about it (The Conversation)
  • David Attenborough calls Australia’s bushfires ‘the moment of crisis’ to address climate change (The Guardian)
  • Kansas co-op pulls the plug on planned 895MW Holcomb coal plant addition (IEEFA)
  • In defence of Michael McCain: Speaking out is what strong leaders do (The Conversation)
  • Sport

  • Australian Open 2020: Margaret Court to be ‘recognised’ – why is she such a divisive figure? (BBC Sport)
  • Andy Murray comeback delayed by pelvic injury setback (BBC Sport)
  • Saracens face Premiership relegation if found to have breached salary cap again (BBC Sport)
  • Carlos Beltran steps down as New York Mets manager over ‘sign-stealing’ role (BBC Sport)
  • Odell Beckham Jr: New Orleans police issue arrest warrant for Cleveland Browns player (BBC Sport)
  • Ashley Young: Manchester United agree fee with Inter Milan (BBC Sport)
  • Further reading

  • Dirty Money and Bad Science at MIT’s Media Lab (Wired)
  • Why Discovering Martians Could Be Disappointing – Issue 80: Aliens (Nautilus)
  • Africa, in its fullness (Aeon)
  • The American Scion Who Secured British Neutrality in the U.S. Civil War (Smithsonian)
  • Microsoft will invest $1 billion into carbon reduction and removal technologies (MIT Tech Review)
  • Insect Jewelry of the Victorian Era (Jstor)

  • You can sign up for this briefing via email here.

    Straya Briefly for 17/01/2020

    Morning all,

    Here’s today’s headlines:


  • EXCLUSIVE: Minister blames ‘decades of mismanagement’ for bushfires deaths (Sky News)
  • NSW Grazier Finally Gets To Shave His Beard After Rainfall (Ten)
  • Council approves removal of 96 million litres of water a year from drought-ravaged region (ABC)
  • Minister reveals he needs counselling to deal with deadly fires (Sky News)
  • More relief for firefighters with significant rainfall on the way (New Daily)
  • Shorten defends climate policy he took to failed federal election (Sky News)
  • Opinion

  • Russian government resignation: what’s just happened and what’s in store for Putin beyond 2024? (The Conversation)
  • How Putin is devising his exit plan (Pursuit)
  • Moving the A-League to the winter would improve the play, but will it attract the fans? (The Conversation)
  • The bushfire crisis has shown a way forward for Australia – and revealed who we truly are | Van Badham (The Guardian)
  • Turning a profit out of aged tests means less care (SMH)
  • We have already had countless bushfire inquiries. What good will it do to have another? (The Conversation)
  • Business

  • Julie Bishop takes job with Greensill, the firm pushing controversial financing practice (The Guardian)
  • A South Australian financial adviser is accused of swindling $170,000 from clients, court told (ABC)
  • Workers strike balance between empowerment and control (SMH)
  • An Aussie invention could soon cut five per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions (New Daily)
  • Bushfire tourism flagged by SA Environment Minister following Kangaroo Island crisis (ABC)
  • ASX 200 closes at record high on back of US-China trade deal (Sky News)
  • World

  • Nations demand compensation from Iran for plane crash victims (ABC)
  • Trump impeachment trial opens in US Senate (Deutsche Welle)
  • Gambia: Thousands march for ex-ruler Yahya Jammeh’s return (Deutsche Welle)
  • Trump administration broke the law over Ukraine aid, says watchdog (ABC)
  • US Senate formally opens Trump impeachment trial (Al Jazeera English)
  • Putin appoints unknown hockey buddy as Russia’s new PM (ABC)
  • Climate

  • What is climate change? (BBC News)
  • ‘We can raise a red flag now’: 2019 the second-hottest year on record for Earth, WMO says (ABC)
  • In defence of Michael McCain: Speaking out is what strong leaders do (The Conversation)
  • Kia to target 1 million electric car sales yearly by 2026 in $36b ‘Plan S’ strategy (Renew Economy)
  • Germany moves forward with 40 billion-euro plan to exit all coal generation by 2038 (IEEFA)
  • Nuclear weapons worsen the climate crisis | Letter (The Guardian)
  • Sport

  • Zampa reveals methodical plans for Kohli success (Cricinfo)
  • Derby County: Championship clubs charged for breach of spending rules (BBC Sport)
  • Australian Open draw treats Barty well while fans eye Kyrgios-Nadal fourth-round blockbuster (ABC)
  • Xavi: Barcelona job offer came ‘too early’ in coaching career (BBC Sport)
  • Alun Wyn Jones can make a fifth World Cup, says Wales’ Jonathan Humphreys (The Guardian)
  • The Breakdown | Saracens’ spirit is remarkable but cost-cutting threatens strength (The Guardian)
  • Further reading

  • So, you want to live tiny? Here’s what to consider when choosing a house, van or caravan (The Conversation)
  • In the absence (Aeon)
  • This Apple-FBI Fight Is Different From the Last One (Wired)
  • Africa, in its fullness (Aeon)
  • Black Drop Effect review: infusing the present moment with layers of the past (The Conversation)
  • Dirty Money and Bad Science at MIT’s Media Lab (Wired)

  • You can sign up for this briefing via email here.