Society can, and will, come together to quicken the pace toward decarbonisation, Shell’s Vice President Commercial and NDB Virang Gadoya told the Petroleum Club of WA’s February industry dinner.
The dinner also featured Osaka Gas managing director Yo Otsuka, who spoke about Japan’s shift to cleaner energy with a focus on what it means for consumers.
Mr Gadoya said there were three scenarios to how society would react to the decarbonisation imperative as it recovered from the impacts of COVID-19.
The first scenario, ‘Waves’, is where societies prioritise wealth first. “What this means is that coming out of 2020, countries are focusing on building prosperity,” Mr Gadoya said. “That means that resilience is measured in economic terms; GDP growth is higher, and the energy consumption is higher.”
Mr Gadoya said the second scenario, ‘Island’, is where societies prioritise their own security first. “This means that trade values go up, there is less collaboration, alignment, multilateralism,” he said. “It would see lower economic growth, and at the same time societies not collaborating to reduce carbon emissions.”
However, the third scenario, ‘Sky’, is where societies come together and collaborate in reaction to a crisis.“’ Sky’ is kind of like dark clouds that gather over the whole world,”
Mr Gadoya said. “It’s a confluence of new direction that would clear the ‘Sky’. This means a lot of collaboration and a lot of wellbeing-first mentalities. “It supports health and economic balance.”
Mr Gadoya said that all three scenarios lead to the same result: decarbonisation. However, the main difference is each scenario’s pace.
“With ‘Waves’, think of it as an undercurrent: moving slowly until it gets to shore, and then the waves come crashing fast. This means decarbonisation is late but fast,” Mr Gadoya said. “’Island’ is both late and delayed. There is limited collaboration across countries, across companies. It involves an insular mindset. “However, ‘Sky’ is where everyone comes together. It might look too optimistic but take a look at the past six months; at how societies have come together.
“For example, the COVID-19 vaccine: I was one of the people who said: ‘there is no way a vaccine will be created in six months’ time’. “Look at it now. We have not one, but multiple vaccines being approved. The world came together to provide a vaccine. It showed the world can come together and has come together during a crisis.”
However, Mr Gadoya said that energy efficiency and electrification still needed to be addressed for the world to reach decarbonisation goals. This is where Osaka Gas managing director Yo Otsuka said innovative technology had a role to play, and where his company was directing its efforts.
He said that the transition to renewable energy wouldn’t be a quick process. “The transition takes a considerable amount of time until technology innovation meets society’s decarbonisation expectation,” Mr Otsuka said.
He said that the Japanese government prepared the route for companies to embrace decarbonisation. “Last October, the Japanese Prime Minister announced Japan’s
goal to be carbon neutral by 2050,” Mr Otsuka said. “The green goal strategy sees combating climate change as an opportunity for future economic growth, rather than a constraint or a cost.”
He referenced the Group’s Carbon Neutral Vision: Aiming to become carbon neutral by 2050 report, released in January, which said that as technology advances, so too will the cost to reduce emissions.
“The group expects that its contribution to CO2 emissions reduction will cut down the social cost required for achieving a carbon-neutral society using the innovative technologies that are currently being developed,” the report said. “The Group also plans to provide solutions to the issue relating to climate change and energy security.
“The Group is committed to contributing to achieving a carbon-neutral society by developing and offering technologies and services.”
Mr Otsuka closed off his presentation by talking about Australia’s position in reducing global emissions. “I believe Australia can play a key role in leading the decarbonisation society,” he said. “Strong government support and a solid regulatory framework provide attractive investment opportunities. There is also an opportunity with the end-consumer markets such as Asian countries which is also attractive.”
Thank you to our February Industry Dinner event sponsors