Innovation and technology are the keys to both stronger economic growth and a clean environment, Malcolm Turnbull said in a speech to world leaders at the Paris Climate Conference.
Australia will also ratify the second commitment of the Kyoto Protocol and contribute $1 billion over five years to build climate resilience and reduce emissions. The money will come out of the existing aid budget and the government has previously committed $200 million over four years.
“We firmly believe that it is innovation and technology which will enable us both to drive stronger economic growth and a cleaner environment,” Turnbull said.
Turnbull noted that Australian universities and research institutions were responsible for many of the breakthroughs in renewable energy.
“To give one example, the University of New South Wales has held the world record for solar cell efficiency for 30 of the last 32 years,” Turnbull said.
“And by 2018, over 60 per cent of the world’s solar cells are to use technology developed by Australian researchers.”
Turnbull has also committed to an initiative created by Bill Gates called Mission Innovation, intended to increase funding for clean energy research. The commitment to Mission Innovation will reportedly see Australia’s spending on research and development double to $200 million a year.
Ratifying the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol will legalise Australia’s goal of reducing carbon emissions to 5% below 2000 levels by 2020. The government had previously announced that Australia was on track to meet the goal.
“But our task, and that of the technologies we deploy, is not just to reduce emissions,” Turnbull said. “The impacts of global warming are already being felt and will continue to be so even after we reach global net zero emissions.”
To combat some of the impacts already being felt, Turnbull has committed the $1 billion over the next five years to “build climate resilience and reduce emissions”.
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