The Australia-New Zealand Climate Change & Business Conference is to be held in Auckland at the end of October. It recognises that governments can address climate change head-on by making policies that reduce emissions and adapt to climate impacts. The conference is designed to connect business and policy makers to teach and share ideas about how to tackle the problems surrounding climate change.
"There have been many forums around the country over the past few years in which businesses and government have engaged one another, but this is an opportunity to do it on a national scale," says Gary Taylor, Executive Director and Chairman of the Environmental Defense Society.
As New Zealand is the host of the conference this year, there will be discussions of the big picture surrounding climate change in New Zealand. There will also be in-depth exploration of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme, which will be compared with carbon pricing responses in Australia. The NZ ETS is being reviewed during 2015 and any changes could potentially be announced by October.
In anticipation of the United Nations Climate Change Conference being held in Paris this December, where a new global agreement will be established, there will be talks regarding what this new agreement will mean for Australasia.
"It's an opportunity for some cross-Tasman comparisons about how well our respective governments are doing," says Taylor.
The programme of the Climate Change & Business Conference will give a situation update on the domestic and international policies of both New Zealand and Australia. The conference will examine how climate change responses and the new global agreement might affect domestic policy initiatives regarding trading partners such as China and Korea.
In addition to exploring these policies, there will be discussion about how businesses can take advantage of the situation by developing new solutions for energy production, transportation, agriculture and forestry. Each sector will be profiled and analysed.
Trying to reduce the effects of climate change presents an important opportunity for innovators. There is a need to strike a balance between using low carbon technologies while also maximising energy efficiency. This task falls largely to members of the business community.
"It's an opportunity to dialogue directly with policy makers, and to encourage new investments in innovation," says Taylor.
The Australia-New Zealand Climate Change & Business Conference is the first major forum on climate change for New Zealand business in four years. 200 to 300 delegates are expected to be in attendance, with the majority from New Zealand and a large portion attending from Australia. The conference will be held on 20 and 21 October 2015 at the Rendezvous Hotel in Auckland.
"I think it will bring about a reinvigorated national dialogue about what New Zealand should and could be doing and a renewed sense of leadership, particularly from the business community. It's businesses that are going to bring about the new technology and innovations necessary to transition to a low carbon future," says Taylor.