19 Mar. 2007

Peter Garret Writes An Op-Ed

Unfortunately, after a decade of inaction on climate change, the Howard Government has been left standing at the docks waving goodbye to Australian jobs, investment and technology. Last week the Australian company Global Renewables announced a $5 billion deal with Britain's Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council. The Lancashire project aims to cut greenhouse pollution by more than 4 million tonnes.

Global Renewable has had to go to Britain to realise its ambitions.

Four weeks ago another Australian company, Pacific Hydro - which has 1800 megawatts of clean energy assets around the world - announced its move into Brazil. Why?

Because according to its general manager, Rob Grant, the growth in Australian clean energy assets has been held back by Australia's decision to not sign the Kyoto Protocol. The company is looking internationally for investment opportunities in countries that are enacting positive policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address global warming.

Zhengrong Shi, an academic from the University of NSW who was unable to realise his ambitions to develop solar technology in Australia, moved his business to China, where he is now that nation's third-richest man. His technology is helping reduce China's emissions. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that in a few years we might have to import these technologies, which were developed in Australia, from China. We should not be in the business of exporting jobs, technology or our brightest and best minds.