Australia and Japan committed to working together to improve cooperation on energy and climate goals following a bilateral meeting on the weekend, as Canberra moved to calm fears in Tokyo that stricter emissions targets will impose higher costs for fossil fuel projects.
(Bloomberg) — Australia and Japan committed to working together to improve cooperation on energy and climate goals following a bilateral meeting on the weekend, as Canberra moved to calm fears in Tokyo that stricter emissions targets will impose higher costs for fossil fuel projects.
Australia’s Trade Minister Don Farrell, Climate and Energy Minister Chris Bowen and Resources Minister Madeleine King met with Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura in Melbourne for the fifth Australia-Japan Ministerial Economic Dialogue on Sunday.
Ministers agreed to “ensure the stable energy supply and to provide investment certainty in the transition period” based on mutual trust, according to a statement released by Australia after the meeting. Senior officials will report back on progress in 2024.
Australia recently imposed tougher pollution controls, put a cap on some fuel prices and has considered limiting exports to prioritize domestic demand. Japan and other energy buyers have raised concerns those policies have the potential to disrupt the country’s gas exports.
“Australia is committed to being a reliable and stable energy supplier to our region, but more particularly to Japan,” Farrell said during his opening remarks. “We will discuss our common objectives in managing our economic and energy security interests and in developing new opportunities in that energy transition, for which there are very many.”
Nishimura went into the meeting seeking assurances over the stability of Australia’s investment environment, the Australian Financial Review reported, citing a written response to questions from the Japanese minister. The Asian country is heavily reliant on Australian gas exports.
Australia’s Labor government has worked to strengthen its policies to tackle climate change, including mandating emissions cuts of 43% from 2005 levels by 2030. In March, the government passed its signature safeguard mechanism legislation, which will enforce Australia’s largest polluters, including its giant LNG plants, to cut their emissions over time.
On Monday, BHP Group Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Mike Henry underscored the need for greater collaboration between the two nations while speaking at a conference in Melbourne hosted by the Australia Japan Business Co-operation Committee.
“At a minimum there needs to be real clarity and dialog between policymakers in Japan and in Australia,” Henry said. “So not just high level support for a few things, but practically what are the policy settings required in Australia for Japan – and Japanese industry – to be making ongoing investments in Australia?”
–With assistance from Ben Westcott and Sybilla Gross.
(Updates with comment from BHP CEO in final paragraph)
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