Future Japan-Australia R&D to focus on low and zero emissions technologies

By Melissa Coade

Monday June 14, 2021

Scott Morrisson-Boris Johnson
Our PM made lots of friends at the G7. (Leon Neal/Pool Photo via AP)

Australia has used a joint statement with Japan to hold up its ‘technology-led response’ to climate change as a beacon for action.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison released the statement at the weekend from Cornwall, where the G7 is meeting, to announce a new collaboration agreement between Australia and Japan to work on ‘technology research and development, in order to rapidly accelerate global emissions reduction and reach net zero emissions’. 

In the statement both countries said that they shared a ‘common commitment to ambitious action to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement’ and that they acknowledged the part both countries played in the ‘global response’ to climate change as ‘one of the defining challenges’ of this time. 

Both nations reaffirmed their targets for transitioning to net-zero — for Japan by 2050, and for Australia ‘as soon as possible, preferably by 2050’.

“We take on to increase our joint focus on lower emissions LNG production, transport and use; clean fuel ammonia, clean hydrogen and derivatives produced from renewable energy or from fossil fuels with substantial carbon capture, utilisation and storage; carbon capture utilisation and storage; carbon recycling; and low emissions steel and iron ore,” the statement read.

Morrison has spent the past few months spruiking his vision for a ‘technology-led’ response to climate change, with the political spin that doing so would mean a boost to the economy and job creation. The prime minister has been at great pains at every stage not to demonise coal or fossil fuels in his climate change messaging

The same language was peppered throughout the Japan-Australia partnership agreement Morrison unveiled on Sunday, with a commitment to also involve regional and multilateral partners to support the strength of the Indo-Pacific and nations in the ASEAN bloc.

This commitment will be displayed, by supporting regional partners in their pragmatic and clean energy transitions in various forms, which reflect their own circumstances and increasingly utilise low and zero emissions technologies and energy resources, to meet the region’s growing energy demands,” the statement read.

“We, together with their partners, will coordinate approaches wherever possible on support for clean, pragmatic and realistic energy transitions in the region, including for developing countries, through finance, capacity building, technology development and deployment support, and knowledge sharing.”

As part of the agreement, both Japan and Australia said they would financially support projects and initiatives that ‘contribute to the development and deployment of low and zero emissions technologies’ and work together to leverage funding from other sources, such as subnational governments and the private sector.

Updates on the progress of the agreement will take place through a ministerial economic dialogue and ministers representing each country’s respective energy and emissions, and economy, trade and industry portfolios will be responsible for taking the agreement forward.

A subsequent statement from the prime minister and Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel announced a new Australia-Germany Hydrogen Accord (signed on 11 June) that outlined each country’s commitment to ‘enhance collaboration in technology innovation, research, development and deployment to build a global hydrogen industry’.

The statement said both Morrison and Merkel had discussed climate change and their mutual agreement ‘towards achieving net zero emissions and keeping the 1.5°C temperature goal within reach’.


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