Plenary 1: The Pathway to Net Zero
This panel will be discussing climate and decarbonisation in the lead-up to COP26 – what’s Australia’s contribution and the opportunities electrifying the economy will create.
INTRODUCTION AND CHAIR
Chief Executive, Clean Energy Council
Kane Thornton is Chief Executive of the Clean Energy Council, the peak body for the renewable energy and energy storage industry in Australia. Kane has more than a decade's experience in energy policy and leadership in the development of the renewable energy industry. Kane has advocated for and helped design the policies that have been critical to the renewable energy industry's growth, and continues to be an active political advocate, public presenter and media spokesperson.
His previous roles include senior manager and advisor for Hydro Tasmania and executive officer of Renewable Energy Generators Australia. Kane has broad international management experience having previously worked in technology, living and working in Asia. He has held a range of advisory and board roles with government and non-government organisations in the climate change and energy sector, and is Deputy Chair of Sustainability Victoria. Kane is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, has a Masters in Social Science and Bachelor of Information Technology.
The Hon Lily D’Ambrosio, MP
Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Minister for Solar Homes
Liliana (Lily) D’Ambrosio is a member of the Australian Labor Party and has represented the electorate of Mill Park in the Victorian Legislative Assembly since 2002. She was appointed the Minister for Industry and Minister for Energy and Resources following the election of the Andrews Labor Government in 2014. In 2016 she became Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change and Minister for Suburban Development.
She remains the only woman responsible for energy across the nine national and sub-national governments in Australia, and is a leading advocate for a modernised Australian energy system that facilitates a smooth transition into a clean, reliable and affordable energy future.
The Hon Chris Bowen MP
Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy
Chris Bowen entered Parliament in 2004 and has held a wide range of portfolios including serving as Treasurer, Minister for Human Services, Minister for Immigration, Minister for Financial Services, Assistant Treasurer, Minister for Competition Policy, Minister for Small Business and Minister for Tertiary Education. Chris has been responsible for a range of significant policy reform programs in these portfolios. He served as Interim Leader of the Labor Party and Acting Leader of the Opposition following the 2013 Federal election and served as Shadow Treasurer. He is now the Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy.
CEO, Australian Renewable Energy National Agency (ARENA)
Darren Miller has more than 25 years’ experience across a range of sectors including renewable energy, electricity retail, technology, finance, media and entertainment. Since joining ARENA as CEO in 2018, he has introduced new investment priorities that include the acceleration of hydrogen to create opportunities across the domestic economy, and position Australia to become a major renewable energy exporter.
Prior to joining ARENA Darren was the co-founder and CEO of Mojo Power, an innovative electricity retailer. He was previously the Director of Asset Finance at Sungevity Australia, and co-founder and CEO of Sumwise, a technology and services company.
Darren’s previous experience includes managing investments for Publishing and Broadcasting Limited and Consolidated Press Holdings as well as in corporate finance and advisory at Ernst & Young. Darren is a Chartered Accountant with a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) from the University of New South Wales.
CEO, Energy Efficiency Council
Luke Menzel is CEO of the Energy Efficiency Council, Australia's peak body for energy efficiency, energy management and demand response. Luke leads the Council’s work to make sensible, cost effective energy efficiency measures standard practice across the Australian economy.
Luke sits on a number of government and independent advisory committees, and is Vice President of the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC).
Country Lead - Australia, ClimateWorks
Anna heads up the Australian Country Context team. This team looks outward to enhance ClimateWorks’ understanding of the political and economic landscape. This includes building our ability to partner with stakeholders and funders, signposting external partners to the full range of our work and ensuring our teams make the most of opportunities to create systems change. Anna focuses on influencing policy and investment, and managing our relationships with senior stakeholders.
Prior to ClimateWorks Anna was Assistant Director at the Climate Change Authority. She also worked on climate policy, including as Director of the Climate Action Network Australia and in the Victorian Government.
Anna’s climate policy expertise builds on her policy roles in the UK government on environment and sustainable development. She also has experience in international development – including working in Latin America – and urban conservation.
Executive Director, Pollination
Zoe Whitton is an Executive Director at Pollination Group, a specialist climate change investment and advisory firm. Zoe advises investors, companies and regulators on the financial implications of climate change and transition strategy.
Zoe previously led Citi’s APAC ESG Research unit and advised investors on climate change at Credit Suisse and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Zoe has won numerous research awards, was rated among the top ESG analysts globally in 2019, and was awarded the inaugural Rising Star award by Women in Banking and Finance.
She currently serves on the boards of the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC) and the Centre for Policy Development (CPD), is a member of the advisory board of the Sydney Environment Institute. She regularly contributes to the wider conversation on sustainable finance by commentating in the Australian and international press, including in the AFR, the SMH, the Age, and the Wall Street Journal, along with publications such as the Quarterly Essay.
CEO, The Carbon Market Institute
John Connor has over 25 years in public and private policy with a focus on building the evidence and strategic partnerships to drive change. Have worked across the business, community and political spectrum with those prepared to take the steps necessary for genuine change.
Currently CEO for the Carbon Market Institute (CMI), industry association for business leading the transition to net-zero emissions. Over 100 companies spanning the carbon value chain from primary producers, carbon service providers and emission intensive companies.
CMI role followed over two years based in Suva directing the Secretariat supporting the Fijian Government's Presidency on international climate negotiations (COP23 Presidency). A privilege to have first-hand experience with Pacific leadership and innovation in the face of the growing climate crisis.
Prior to that led The Climate Institute which pioneered approaches which put focus on financial institutions as well as being a lead analyst, commentator and participant in Australian climate policy successes and setbacks over decade from 2007 - 2017.
Chief Executive, Climate Change, Bluescope
Gretta Stephens joined BlueScope as Chief Executive New Zealand & Pacific Islands in 2018.
In early 2021 Gretta was appointed Chief Executive Climate Change for BlueScope globally. In this role, Gretta leads the development and implementation of BlueScope’s Climate Strategy and decarbonisation pathway towards the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Gretta also leads the mining, manufacturing and downstream businesses in New Zealand and the Lysaght and Acier manufacturing and distribution businesses in the Pacific Islands. Bluescope NZPI produces flat and long steel products for New Zealand and the Pacific Islands from locally mined NZ ironsands.
A qualified engineer, Gretta has over 30 years experience in heavy industry in Australia and New Zealand and has held senior leadership roles in operations leadership, business transformation and technical development. She sits on a number of internal boards, is a member of the Institute of Company Directors, a board member of the New Zealand Business and Parliamentary Trust, was a member of the NZ Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council and is a member of the Electricity Authority’s Security and Reliability Committee.
Prior to joining BlueScope, Gretta was in the aluminium industry, as General Manager and Chief Executive of New Zealand Aluminium Smelters from 2013-2018 and General Manager of Business Improvement & Technology for Rio Tinto’s Pacific Aluminium business from 2010.
Gretta holds a B.Sc in Chemistry & Materials Science and a B.E in Materials Engineering (Hons) from Monash University.