Australia is wealthy and diverse, Australia has an indigenous culture to respect – and Australia must be honest with itself.

Although not immune to growing inequalities across all levels of society, Australia has the wealth to address its energy and climate challenges, with climate solutions to be found on both the debit and credit side of the balance sheet.

Australia is also fortunate in boasting a diverse community, which makes us resilient to new challenges in terms of climate, society and economy. With the rapid development of technology and the changing climate, we need the diverse skills and experiences of our communities and economy to work together, now more than ever.

Australia’s indigenous culture must also be respected, and given every opportunity to participate and teach communities how to live in this country and make use of its abundant resources in a sustainable way – for example, the emission reductions outcomes achievable through Savanna Burning.

But to make space for climate and energy leaders, Australia needs climate and energy honesty.

These four ingredients: wealth, diversity, indigenous culture and honesty, are what Australia needs to meet our Paris climate targets – and to end the decades-long struggle for an energy system that is affordable, reliable, fair and clean.

The Climate Leaders Forum

To facilitate more honest conversation around climate and energy in Australia, South Pole has founded the Climate Leaders platform and regular events series, the Climate Leaders Forum.

The recent Climate Leaders Forums hosted by South Pole in Melbourne and Sydney joined industry Climate Leaders with audiences to answer the call for accelerated climate action.

During the Climate Leaders Forum, speakers from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors present their challenge to an equally diverse room of industry professionals. The room then breaks into groups for to workshop the challenge each audience member feels they can contribute to most.

Through the power of shared value and collective experience, these workshops are designed to accelerate learnings and connections, equipping speakers with the tools and insight needed to solve their challenges. And the results borne out of the Climate Leaders Forums have thus far been inspiring – despite the small amount of trepidation felt by audience members upon realising that participation is mandatory in order to take advantage of the free catering!

Highlights from the Melbourne Climate Leaders Forum

The inaugural Melbourne Climate Leaders Forum took place on Wednesday, 26 September, with venue provided by NAB.

The Carbon Market Institute, “Where the world is heading – Global Climate Action Summit ex-California”

National Bank of Australia (NAB) “Renewable energy production on a diverse portfolio of leased-property.”

SimplyGreen Salary Packaging, "Leveraging finance packages for climate action"

Trust for Nature, “Protecting biodiversity and carbon at the same time”

RightShip, “Accelerating climate/environmental action in an ‘old school’ industry”

The ClimateClever Initiative, "How can climate action in schools change communities?"

Highlights from the Sydney Climate Leaders Forum

The Sydney Climate Leaders Forum was held at EnergyLab in Chippendale, Sydney on Wednesday 3 October.

Sustainable Business Australia, “Is there a new business case for the role of carbon pricing in Australia and if so, what is it?”

Young Persons' Plan For the Planet, “National and International Plans and how they meet UN SDGs”

Climate-KIC Australia, “How do we design and implement climate adaptation projects with imperfect data about the impacts of climate change?”

WWF Australia, “How can we accelerate protecting Tigers and Carbon at the same time?” Australia, “Is "people power" still the most effective Climate Action tool, if so, how do we organise and mobilise this force?”

Both in Melbourne and Sydney, the Climate Leaders Forum resulted in the cross-pollination of ideas, learnings and networking – and showed that with an honest discussion around climate and energy, we can begin to bend the emissions curve down in Australia and get on track to do our fair share in keeping global warming well below 1.5ºC!

We look forward to running more of these events in Sydney and Melbourne in 2019 and beyond to accelerate and inspire climate action across Australia. See you next time!

Are you interested in being a presenter at the next Climate Leaders Forum? Please contact South Pole, with 'Climate Leader Presentation' in the subject and we will be in touch!

For more information about South Pole's Climate Leaders platform, head to the website or contact Jay van Rijn to enquire about joining the Climate Leaders Network.