Australia Falling Behind In Renewable Energy, Investment Down 70 Percent
Although Australia is the 15th largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, it seems to be going backwards on reducing its emissions. The Climate Council recently published “Lagging Behind: Australia And The Global Response To Climate Change” to raise awareness about Australia’s current renewable energy situation.
The biggest, most shocking statistic to come out of the report is the drop in renewable energy investment, which is down 70 percent since 2013. Any achievements the country has made regarding emission reductions has been cancelled out, since the repeal of the carbon pricing mechanism. In the first three to four months after it was cancelled, Australia’s electricity generation-related emissions were up 4 million tonnes compared to the same timeframe from the previous year.
The report admonished the country, claiming its lack of action has changed it from a “leader to laggard” in the renewable energy sector. It also detailed some of the moves other countries are making to lower their carbon emissions. China is the second largest carbon market in the world, and has taken the number one place globally for installed renewable energy capacity. Along with 39 other countries with carbon pricing schemes in place, China has invested in renewable energy capacity, and has banned new coal-fired power stations in some of their biggest cities.
The US is right behind China and is on track to lower emissions to 17 percent below the carbon emission level in 2005, by 2020. More than half of the states in the US have renewable energy targets. Climate Council’s report states that Australia will struggle to reach its 5 percent reduction target by 2020, and believes the goal is too low to begin with.
Read Climate Council’s full energy report here.
Business Chief Legend: Ho Ching, CEO of Temasek
Ask Singaporeans who Ho Ching is, and the majority will answer the ‘wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’. And that’s certainly true. However, she’s also the CEO of Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and one of the world’s largest investment companies.
Well, she is until October 1, 2021, as she recently announced she would be retiring following 16 years as CEO of the investment giant.
Since taking the reins in 2004, two years after joining Temasek as Executive Director, Ho has gradually transformed what was an investment firm wholly owned by Singapore’s Government into an active investor worldwide, splashing out on sectors like life sciences and tech, expanding its physical footprint with 11 offices worldwide (from London to Mumbai to San Francisco) and delivering growth of US$120 billion between 2010-2020.
Described by Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng as having taken “bold steps to open new pathways in finding the character of the organisations”, Ho is credited with building Temasek’s international portfolio, with China recently surpassing Singapore for the first time.
As global a footprint as Ho may have however, she has her feet firmly planted on Singapore soil and is committed to this tiny city-state where she was not only educated (excluding a year at Stanford) but has remained throughout her long and illustrious career – first as an engineer at the Ministry of Defence in 1976, where she met her husband, and most notably as CEO of Singapore Technologies, where she spent a decade, and where she is credited with repositioning and growing the group into the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia.
It’s little wonder Ho has featured on Forbes’ annual World’s Most Powerful Women list for the past 16 years, in 2007 as the third most powerful woman in business outside the US, and in 2020 at #30 worldwide.
But it’s not all business. Ho has a strong track record in Singapore public service, serving as chairman of the Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research and as deputy chairman of the Economic Development Board; and is a committed philanthropist with a focus on learning difficulties and healthcare.
As the pandemic kicked off, she not only led active investments in technology and life sciences, with German COVID-19 vaccine developer BioNTech among the most recent additions to Temasek’s portfolio, but through the Temasek Foundation – the firm’s philanthropic arm which supports vulnerable groups close to Ho’s heart, handed out hand sanitiser and face masks.
So, you would be forgiven for thinking that at age 68, Ho might simply relax. But in March 2021, just as she announced her retirement from Temasek, Ho joined the Board of Directors of Wellcome Leap, a US-based non-profit organisation that’s dedicated to accelerating innovations in global health. Not ready to put her firmly grounded feet up yet it seems.