Australia and the US have each affirmed their commitments to net-zero emissions by 2050, in addresses delivered to the Sydney Energy Forum in the past week.
The forum featured attendees from government, business, and the scientific community that came together to speak about how clean energy supply chains can be developed and maintained in the Indo-Pacific region.
Resources minister Madeleine King and US energy secretary Jennifer Granholm addressed the forum and said the governments of both countries were committed to the goal of reducing global emissions.
King said the Australian and American objectives were aligned and that Australia’s natural strengths in the resource sector enable the country to be a part of the global transition to clean energy.
“We share the US determination to get to net-zero emissions quickly in a manner that creates jobs, sustains jobs and communities, strengthens industries and drives economic growth in both our countries,” King said.
“We expect to see demand continue to grow for critical minerals and rare earths as well to fuel increased uptake of clean energy technologies from lithium-iron batteries to solar panels, wind turbines and of course, very desirable electronic vehicles.”
Granholm said that the objective of reaching net-zero cannot be done without the critical minerals and rare earths that the companies represented by people in the audience were extracting.
“We have a goal in the United States of being able to do some of this but – in fact, the president has put forward $5 billion for development of processing for particularly battery supply chains,” Granholm said.
“However, as those of you who have been doing processing know, it takes a while to be able to set that up. And we need additional processing capacity throughout the world.”
Granholm said that critical minerals required in the process of getting to net-zero could be the subject of manipulation or weaponisation and that diversification of supply chains is important.
“And we want to – I think it’s healthy and from a national security perspective for both of our nations – to diversify our supply chains and make sure that these minerals are available to get to the ultimate goal of net-zero,” Granholm said.