New research from UTS Institute of Sustainable Futures (ISF) and superannuation funds manager Future Super has found that 7.7% of Australia’s retirement savings could fund 100% renewable power by 2030.
According to the report titled Supercharging Australia’s Clean Energy Transition and commissioned by 350.org and Future Super, it found that to achieve full decarbonisation for the entire energy system by 2050 including transport and industry would require allocation of 12.4%.
Co-founder of Future Super Simon Sheikh says the vast majority of Australians want a renewable energy powered society.
“Thanks to the UTS research, we know how achievable this is. Just a small portion of Australia’s collective super savings could completely fund our countries transition to 100% renewables,” said Sheikh.
The research found that to transition Australia to 100% renewables by 2050 has dropped from $800 billion to $788 billion, with the report stating that this significant investment is dwarfed by the projected growth of Australia’s collective super savings which are projected to grow from $2.6 trillion to more than $6.5 trillion by 2050.
Founder of 350.org Bill McKibben will be launching the report as part of his Accelerate Climate Action tour and believes when people unite they can leverage powerful change.
“We witnessed it this year when New York City and New York State announced they would divest their multi-billion pension funds of fossil fuels. This happened because ordinary people decided they didn’t want their retirement funds fuelling climate change.”
“We must act swiftly to protect the climate from dangerous greenhouse gas emissions and to do that, we need to ensure not another penny of our money goes to support fossil fuels. That we build no new coal, gas or oil projects and that the community’s money in superannuation supports the transition to 100% renewable energy,” said McKibben.
Future Super will be launching a new renewable energy focussed investment option which they say will enable everyday Australians to increase their exposure to the rapidly growing renewable energy industry. Future Super Growth (Renewable Plus) will be Australia’s first diversified, fossil-free portfolio with renewable energy at its core.
“The resource-based coal, oil and gas industries are being violently disrupted by a wave of cleantech innovation. The polluter’s business model is being threatened on all sides, from advancements in renewable energy, battery storage and smart metering, peer-to-peer energy trading, the electrification of transport and autonomous driving technologies,” said Sheikh adding that Future Super Growth (Renewables Plus will have a 20% target allocation to renewable energy and zero investment in fossil fuels.
“By excluding fossil fuels and increasing the allocation to renewable energy and climate solutions, our new investment product empowers everyday Australians to bypass political inertia and invest more of their super in sustainable, future-focussed businesses. “
McKibben believes activists have urged divestment for what he says people might call moral reasons: if it’s going to wreck the planet, it’s wrong to profit from the wreckage.
“But pension funds are willing to divest because they’ve come to believe that the future is not about coal and oil and gas – these are now on the decline. The future lies elsewhere.”