Australia & California Climate Pledge: Protect Forests, Green Jobs

Wed 16 Aug 23


Australia and California will ink a climate pledge to collaborate on “fighting climate change and protecting biodiversity” in forests.

According to various reports, the memorandum of understanding will focus on cooperating on climate action, ecosystem protection, forest fire coordination, and creating jobs in ‘clean and circular economies.

Former Australian PM Dr Kevin Rudd and current US Ambassador signed the pledge with Californian Governor Gavin Newsom in Sacramento today.

The Guardian has provided an exert from the pledge.

The global scientific community has reached a consensus around the urgent threats of the climate crisis and biodiversity loss. As we come dangerously close to tipping points of irreversible change, the governments of Australia and California are choosing to work together to address these existential risks.

On the heels of the Earth’s hottest month on record and having recently experienced similar severe weather events and unprecedented disasters, Australia and California share a pressing and immediate priority in addressing climate risks such as heatwaves, storm surges, wildfires, drought, and flooding.

Watch the live announcement. Footage courtesy of @cagovernor.

According to Politico, Governor Newsom has emerged as a “climate policy power broker,” with the golden state becoming a platform to broker international agreements with foreign allies and adversaries.

Earlier this month, California secured a climate deal with China, circumventing the geopolitical tensions between Washington and Beijing.

“We recognise that our federal leaders are balancing many factors and priorities, and we want to support them,” said California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot in an interview. 

“California is a strong cornerstone of climate leadership that’s stable and driving forward.”

California Transportation Secretary Toks Omishakin (seated, right), Newsom (standing, centre) and other officials at an Aug. 3 signing ceremony after finalizing a climate agreement with Hainan. (Photo Credit: Supplied by the Office of Govin Newsom)
The pledge will support establishing new markets for forest biomass

Wood Central understands that Australia and California will promise to explore “opportunities to decarbonise the aviation sector and advance vehicle efficiency standards”.

In June, Australia established a Jet Zero Council and is pushing to produce sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) from liquid biofuel – from forestry, agricultural waste and cooking oil. 

The Australian Government has identified Sustainable Aviation Fuels as a major market for Australian agricultural export.

According to the International Energy Agency, demand for biomass is booming, driven by the push to decarbonise.

In the Roadmap to Net Zero by 2050 report, the IEA supports a shift away from bioenergy produced by food crops – known as ‘conventional bioenergy feedstocks’ with a focus on organic waste streams, forest and wood residues, short-rotation woody crops and forestry plantings.

The IEA supports increased short-rotation woody bioenergy production from marginal lands and the switch from conventional bioenergy crops to advanced short-rotation woody crops.

“Sustainably managed forest plantations established outside of existing forested land can increase carbon stocks while at the same time sustainably producing biomass.” 

According to Chis Bowen, Australian Minister for Climate Change and Energy, global collaboration was critical to ensuring Australia became “a renewable energy superpower”.

In May, Bioenergy Australia CEO spoke to Sky News Australia about the role that SAF in Australia’s net zero transition. Footage courtesy of @SkyNewsAustralia

Minister Bowen said a local SAF industry could create thousands of jobs while reducing Australian airlines’ dependence on imported fuels.

“The world’s climate emergency is Australia’s jobs opportunity… a homegrown, sustainable aviation fuels industry could create more than 7400 jobs by 2030, most of them in regional areas,” he said.

“Australia’s strong agricultural sector means we could be a global leader by scaling up domestic production of renewable fuel for exports.”

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong said Australia was “working with international partners to address the climate crisis, which is the biggest threat faced by the Indo-Pacific.” 

Australia and California will look to strengthen fire management collaboration under the pledge.

The Australian government says other planned areas of cooperation include nature-based solutions, climate adaptation initiatives, developing clean energy supply chains and technologies, and supporting green finance, investment and climate-friendly business.


  • Wood Central

    Wood Central is Australia’s first and only dedicated platform covering wood-based media across all digital platforms. Our vision is to develop an integrated platform for media, events, education, and products that connect, inform, and inspire the people and organisations who work in and promote forestry, timber, and fibre.


Related Articles