Building the Superpower of the Low Carbon World Economy

Prof Garnaut


On Wednesday 17 June, Professor Ross Garnaut will deliver the fifth webinar of his RESET seminar series, Building the Superpower of the Low Carbon World Economy.

This lecture outlines how embracing the opportunities of the low carbon world economy can accelerate Australia’s recovery from recession and put us in a strong position to realise our potential as a Superpower of the emerging new world economy.

The pandemic economic crisis has depressed demand for all energy, including old fossil as well as new zero emissions sources. Higher marginal costs of supply places most pressure for decline and adjustment on old energy. Allowing the natural decline in old energy after the collapse in 2020 to take its course, and allowing the new energy to expand with the restoration of growth in energy demand, will support the expansion of energy-intensive manufacturing activity, including the processing of Australian iron, aluminium and other mineral raw materials. Judicious support for the zero emissions economy will also support the emergence of new economic activity that utilises Australia’s immense opportunities to store carbon in the landscape and to produce biomass as a base for zero emissions chemical industries.

Economically efficient use of the low carbon opportunity can contribute a major part of the expansion of investment, output, employment and incomes in recovery from deep recession.

Restoring Australian prosperity will require the strengthening of an independent centre of the Australian polity—independent of vested interests and of partisan competitive political interests. It will require an elevation of respect for the central role of knowledge in a successful democracy.

MEI is pleased to host this seminar in partnership with the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Business and Economics.

Professor Ross Garnaut AC will deliver six webinars in this RESET series. More information on the series is available here.



Professor Ross Garnaut AC is a Professorial Research Fellow in Economics at The University of Melbourne. He is the author of numerous publications in scholarly journals on international economics, public finance and economic development, particularly in relation to East Asia and the Southwest Pacific. Recent books include The Great Crash of 2008 (with David Llewellyn-Smith, 2009); Dog Days: Australia After the Boom (2013); Forty Years of Reform and Development in China (2018) and Superpower: Australia’s low carbon opportunity, Black Inc., 2019.

He is Distinguished Fellow of the Australian Economic Society, Distinguished Fellow of the Australian Agricultural and Resources Economic Society, Fellow of the Australia Academy of Social Sciences and Honorary Professor of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Professor Garnaut has had longstanding senior roles as policy advisor, diplomat and businessman. He was the senior economic policy official in Papua New Guinea’s Department of Finance in the years straddling Independence in 1975, principal economic adviser to Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke 1983-1985, and Australian Ambassador to China 1985-1988.

He is the author of a number of influential reports to the Australian Government, including Australia and the Northeast Asian Ascendancy, 1989, The Review of the Federal State Financial Relations (with Vince Fitzgerald) 2002, The Garnaut Climate Change Review 2008, and The Garnaut Review 2011: Australia and the Global Response to Climate Change.

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