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CSIRO Launches New Low Emissions Mission

Image Credits: CSIRO, Press Release

CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, launched a new research Mission to help Australia’s regions and hard-to-abate industries transform and accelerate towards a low emissions economy on 11 October 2022. To start, AU$90 million will be invested in CSIRO’s Towards Net Zero Mission, a large-scale scientific and collaborative research initiative bringing together research, industry, government, and communities to help Australia’s hardest-to-abate sectors – including steel and agriculture – halve their emissions by 2035.

CSIRO’s Chief Executive, who announced the mission, stated that transitioning these industries is not just about using new technology to solve a global problem, but deliberately turning that problem into new economic growth by building national capability and reimagining how we live and work.

Australia’s hard-to-abate industries like resources and agriculture are critical Australian advantages and are deeply embedded into the fabric of our regions – regions that the country is built on. Thus, CSIRO’s Mission must be co-developed not just with those in the hard-to-abate industries, but also in partnership with their communities to understand the impacts and opportunities arising from new science-enabled technologies and ways of doing business.

He added that the transformation of these hard-to-abate industries and regions is critical to Australia’s future prosperity, and Australian science will ensure no one gets left behind in the massive period of change.

The Towards Net Zero Mission will help Australia respond to the multiple challenges facing various regions as the Government work to achieve its net zero ambitions and will:

  • Support a profitable and sustainable agriculture industry in a low-emission world;
  • Identify what is required to develop new low-emissions steel and iron ore processes;
  • Identify what is required to develop sustainable aviation fuel to support our aviation sector;
  • Help regions navigate the transition to net zero through new collaborations, analysis, and support; and
  • Expand Australia’s carbon offset capacity by using and scaling negative emission technologies such as carbon sequestration.

The Towards Net Zero Mission Lead noted that the transition to net zero is underway and gaining pace across Australia. We see the industry starting to transform itself, setting goals and testing technology. It is known that the transition to net zero involves more than just low-emissions technology. If these technologies are to be widely adopted, pathways for them that support prosperity and generate other benefits to the environment and society must be developed.

The Towards Net Zero Mission brings together CSIRO with government partners and collaborators Climate Change Authority; Department of Climate Change, Energy; Environment and Water; Department of Industry, Science and Resources; Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC); Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries; along with industry partners and collaborators as well as several universities and research organisations including Heavy Industry Low-carbon Transition Cooperative Research Centre.

The General Manager, Agriculture Policy, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries stated that agriculture and its supply chains will play a critical role in Queensland’s decarbonisation. CSIRO has provided independent analysis to guide our vision and policy response for the sector, as evidenced in the draft Low Emissions Agriculture Roadmap released for public consultation in June.

The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries looks forward to continuing to work with the Towards Net Zero Mission and other key research programs to ensure the agribusiness sector capitalises on low emissions economic opportunities.

Meanwhile, the Climate Change Authority Chief Executive Officer state that the Authority is excited to be collaborating with the Towards Net Zero Mission on an upcoming report to better understand Australia’s carbon sequestration potential. This will help inform choices about the pathways to net zero emissions, ensuring those choices are backed by rigorous, science-based evidence.

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