Low-carbon technology transition in heavy industry is vital for our future

In recognition of the vital importance of heavy industry decarbonisation to limit global warming, Australian CEO Jenny Selway will participate in COP28, taking place 28 November to 12 December 2023 at Expo City, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Selway is CEO of Australia’s Heavy Industry Low-carbon Transition Cooperative Research Centre (HILT CRC). HILT CRC works with more than 50 industry and university partners across Australia and internationally to build a prosperous heavy industry sector at the forefront of the global low-carbon transition.

“My invitation to COP28 reflects the vital work we do at HILT CRC to de-risk decarbonisation of Australia’s iron ore, steel, alumina and cement industries through collaborative, world-class research,” said Selway.

“Being an attendee at COP28 will allow me to engage with other industry and government stakeholders across the world to progress action for the decarbonisation of heavy industries globally by 2050.”

In Australia, the industrial sector accounts for around 44%* of national total emissions, with heavy industry sectors such as iron ore, steel, aluminum and cement, as well as other metals, chemicals, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply chains contributing an estimated 25%* of domestic emissions (*Australian Industry Energy Transitions Initiative Report – Pathways to Industrial Decarbonisation).

“Decarbonising heavy industries is a core aspect of cutting down on global emissions to limit global warming to well below 2°C, the agreed target from COP21 in 2015,” said Selway.

“Low-carbon technology transition in heavy industry is vital for our future: it will ensure we build sustainable industries and create new opportunities for Australia’s economy.”

The heavy industrial sector is critical to Australia’s well-being. Through processing minerals to produce materials such as steel, aluminum and cement, as well as other metals, chemicals, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply chains, data from the Australian Industry Energy Transitions Initiative reveals the sector collectively:

  • is responsible for 17.3% of Australia’s GDP
  • generates exports worth approximately A$236 billion each year
  • directly employs an estimated 414,000 people.

The Net-Zero Industries (NZI) Awards at COP28

Selway is a judge on the 2023 Net-Zero Industries Awards, the first global competition for industrial decarbonisation. Awards in three categories – Outstanding Project, Female Innovator and Young Talent – will be presented on December 8 in the Australian Pavilion, Blue Zone at COP28.

“The 2023 NZI awards recognise extraordinary efforts made by individuals and organisations progressing industrial decarbonisation,” Selway said.

“With presentation of the awards to be made at COP28, they represent a fantastic opportunity for world-leading innovators and projects to be recognised on a global stage.”

The Net-Zero Industries Awards are presented by the Mission Innovation Net-Zero Industries (MI NZI), an international collaboration co-lead by Australia and Austria through Australia’s Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, and Austria’s Federal Ministry for Climate Change, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology.

MI NZI operates across countries, governments and industry to drive and accelerate the adoption of decarbonisation technologies by energy-intensive industries. HILT CRC plays a crucial role in facilitating Australia’s co-leadership of the Mission with Austria.

The Hon Chris Bowen MP, Australian Minister for Climate Change and Energy and the Hon Leonore Gewessler, Austrian Federal Minister for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology, will both be in attendance to present the awards at COP28. In addition to the overall winners, the best project submission of each MI NZI member state will also be awarded: Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Finland, Germany, the Republic of Korea, the UK and the US.

COP28 is an international climate summit, the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. It is expected to host over 70,000 delegates, including heads of state and world leaders, to build consensus and facilitate progress on climate action among 197 countries, the EU and thousands of non-government organisations, companies, youth groups, and other stakeholders.

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