Australia and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have complementary economic structures with clear opportunities for mutually beneficial trade. In 2019, coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG) accounted for 25 percent of Australia’s goods exports to the PRC, behind only iron ore in terms of value. Now, however, bilateral energy commodity trade is facing two significant challenges. First, in 2020 geopolitical tensions spilled over to bring an end to Australian coal exports. The PRC has also stepped up efforts to diversify LNG imports away from Australia. This has included striking multiple long-term supply deals with US companies, despite strategic rivalry between Beijing and Washington becoming increasingly fractious. Second, Beijing is transitioning from fossil fuels to a low carbon energy system. This energy transition, which is critical to achieving Beijing’s ambitious plan of achieving a carbon peak by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060, will significantly impact Australia’s coal and LNG exports in the long run. Australia’s own more ambitious emission reduction targets and climate goals may also affect its industries and exports. These factors are also creating challenges for research and technology cooperation in the energy area.
This raises a number of questions: How will the PRC’s domestic climate change and energy policies affect Australia? What are the opportunities and challenges for energy trade and technology cooperation between Australia and the PRC? What impact is political tensions in the bilateral relationship having upon energy trade and technology cooperation?
The Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS:ACRI), in partnership with the International Society for Energy Transition Studies (ISETS), will host a webinar with 10-minute presentations by Dr Xiujian Peng, Dr Jorrit Gosens, and Mr Anthony Coles in a session chaired by Professor Xunpeng Shi, to discuss these questions and more.