Australia: Energy Superpower of the Low-Carbon World
Australia was a superpower of the old energy economy. This once supported relatively low domestic energy costs, relatively high real household incomes and internationally competitive energy-intensive industry. Things changed through the first one a half decades of this century, with international pricing for coal and gas, a network regulatory system that elevated network distribution costs to the highest in the developed world, and the high real exchange rate from the resources boom. Australians get a second chance at internationally low energy costs with the world’s transition to a low-carbon economy. Managed well, the transition to a low-carbon economy will restore and enhance old Australian strengths, this time built on sustainable foundations. These strengths will be especially important in South Australia.
Professor Garnaut is a Professorial Research Fellow in Economics at the University of Melbourne (since 2008). He was the senior economic policy official in Papua New Guinea’s Department of Finance in the years straddling Independence in 1975, principal economic adviser to Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke 1983-1985, and Australian Ambassador to China 1985-1988.
He is the author of a number of influential reports to Government, including The Garnaut Climate Change Review (Cambridge University Press 2008) and The Garnaut Review 2011: Australia and the Global Response to Climate Change (Cambridge University Press 2011).