David Olsson: Fostering Australia-China collaboration is crucial for climate progress

The need for climate action prompts a focused discussion on collaboration and innovation. David Olsson, National President and Chair of the Australia China Business Council, delivered a keynote address at the last Impact X Summit Sydney, highlighting the importance of international cooperation, especially between Australia and China, for climate change mitigation and progress towards sustainability.

Olsson’s insights make it clear that achieving our Net Zero targets goes beyond ambition; it requires strategic partnerships and a comprehensive understanding of the global context.

Building on the progress made at previous iX Summits, the upcoming Impact X Summit Sydney 2024, scheduled for April 22nd and 23rd to coincide with Earth Day, represents a crucial opportunity to advance these important conversations. With the theme “Climate & Nature 2030: Accelerating Partnerships for Shared Growth,” co-convened with the NSW government and WWF, the summit seeks to drive the necessary change to accelerate climate action and partnership.

Here are the top 5 insights from David Olsson’s keynote address, focusing on the collaboration between China and Australia:

Collaborative efforts with China are essential for achieving global Net Zero targets due to China’s significant impact on global emissions and its advancements in renewable energy.

David Olsson: “But when it comes to climate change, no nation is more important in achieving our global net zero targets than China. It’s already the largest carbon emitter, and those emissions have yet to peak. So, what happens in China will impact all of us. Unless China decarbonizes, we’re not going to beat the climate change challenge. And that’s why China itself has elevated the climate challenge as one of its top priorities. The challenge, and indeed the need for China to reduce its fossil fuel consumption, is enormous.”

China’s commitment to renewable energy and its leadership in clean technology can be pivotal for Australia’s green economic transition.

David Olsson: “For the past decade, there’s been a real revolution in renewable energies taking place in China. China has been making massive investments into energy transition and is now the world’s largest producer of energy from renewable sources. It’s the undisputed leader in the manufacture and export of solar, wind, and EV technology. It’s rolling out the world’s largest emissions trading system, and underpinning this is a detailed policy framework designed to deliver high-quality growth and industrial decarbonization.”

Australia’s green economy growth and global competitiveness heavily depend on leveraging international collaborations, notably with China.

David Olsson: “For Australia to achieve its Net Zero goals with the speed and scale that is required, we will need to explore all opportunities to access the technology, capabilities, and capital available to us. And this requires consideration of the opportunities to work collaboratively with China. Our view is that cooperation is not only possible but offers significant potential to accelerate our own decarbonization efforts and the longer-term industrial transformation of our own economy.”

Political complexities should not deter the pursuit of economic and environmental collaboration between Australia and China.

David Olsson: “Of course, we are realists. As I speak to you, the prospect of substantive climate cooperation at a political level between Australia and China seems remote. But on an economic level, enterprises and entrepreneurs are already driving substantive business engagement. Universities and companies continue to make important R&D contributions. And if you want to know more about that, have a look at a new book report that we’ve just released called ‘The Climate Challenge: Opportunities for Collaboration.'”

Embracing collaborative opportunities with China can accelerate Australia’s industrial transformation and enhance its economic security.

David Olsson: “So, back to my earlier rhetorical question: What is the ACBC doing here today? Well, with our partners at ImpactX, we’re initiating the first of a number of initiatives like this to communicate to the local market that there are tremendous economic opportunities that can flow from collaboration with China. We’re here in Sydney this week, and we’ll be up with them in Hainan next month to share with the China market our desire to achieve Net Zero faster together.”

Watch David Olsson’s full keynote address:



Impact Leadership Journal (ILJ) is a Community Partner of Impact X, working together to create a net-zero, nature positive future that benefits all people and ensures the wellbeing of our planet. This video is published exclusively on this site with the permission of Impact X. To learn more and to join upcoming events, visit www.impactx.tech.


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