Net zero path will require ‘sector-specific’ response

The Federal Government’s announcement to target net zero by 2050 has been welcomed, but the pathway to get there will be complicated, according to a panel.

Speaking at a Women and Super conference, Romilly Madew, Infrastructure NSW chief executive, said: “One of the impacts of this announcement by the Federal Government is all infrastructure – whether economic or social – we need to start saying how we’re going to be benchmarking the assets, what tools they’re going to be using to make sure there’s no greenwash.

“The other change will be sector-specific pathways; we can’t just all say here’s the pathway for 2050 because every sector is different.

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“Infrastructure is quite a complex sector because there’s so many facets to it so you’ll find there will be interesting sector specific responses to the announcement from the Prime Minister.”

Claire Simpson, co-head infrastructure at JANA, said the announcement gave runway for investors, enabled confidence and would impact valuations.

“It gives runway for investors, it enables confidence and will have an impact on valuations.

“It’ll encourage funding into the sector knowing that policy is there to support – there’s clarity in that policy direction,” Simpson said.

“We have lagged on reporting side and the benchmarking side. The data is not as transparent and consistent but there are gains to be made in that sector and given the importance we’ll see improvement in that over time.”

Madew said the Government had put in previous plans when it came to net zero and the economy to keep growing.

“There are opportunities here – there’s opportunities for investors whether its hydrogen, low emissions, renewables and storage,” Madew said.

“We’ll definitely see an uptake in EVs [electric vehicles] and low emissions vehicles; we’ll be seeing that through public transport as well.”

When asked about assets that could not be effectively decarbonised, Simpson said there was still a place for ‘brown’ assets, those classed as contributing to climate change.

“There is absolutely a need still for brown assets, we cannot today just click our fingers and it’s all renewables,” Simpson said.

“This is going to take a long time but there are things managers can do in the interim to protect those assets in terms of de-risking.”

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