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(generated from captions) Ashworth. He's a paid

professional who's won a stack

of comps. And how about moor

moor moor? He's been riding

for 18 years and doesn't get

sick of it. These guys are part

of the extreme sport of BMX


BMX stands for bicycle motor

cross but unlike BMX racing,

freestyle is all about showing

off different tricks. The

winner is the rider that can

pull off the most difficult

stunt. Its name pretty much

speaks for itself. You have the

freedom to be as creative and

daring as you like. It's kind

of scary when you're up there

but when you land you get

psyched. Just like keeping fit

and seeing all your friends and

it's a good way to live, I guess. Riders practice their

skills in different ways.

There's park ramp which is

using the ramps and slopes of a

skate park. There's dirt

freestyle, using big jumps

designed specifically for

BMXes. And then there's flat

land freestyle, doing tricks

like this. Many riders start

out this way because if there

are mistakes or falls it's less

likely to hurt. Can you teach

me an easy trick? We're going

to start by going over the

track here so put your helmet

on and we'll give it a go.

How did I go? That was good

for a beginnerer, really

good. How different is style

tile from BMX racing? - how

different is freestyle from BMX

racing? Racing has been around

for a lot longer. It was

popular in the 19 70s. Over the

years, the competitions have

grown and it's taken more

seriously as a sport but the

basic rules are pretty much the

same. It's about who can get

around the track the quickest.

The riders begin the race on a

starting hill like this and

they can clock up speeds of

around 70ks an hour. There are

lots of tricky jumps to

overcome along the way.You

might watch these guys and

think it looks easy but BMX in

any form can be a dangerous

sport. Riders need to wear

proper safety gear like a

helmet and padding. The type of

safety gear varies between BMX

racing and freestyle. The bike

is different too. The race

bike's usually made of

aluminium, it's a lot lighter

because those guys just want to

go fast. BMX freestyle bikes

also have these stunt pegs.

They help the rider to move the

bike into different positions.

They don't have brakes and the

bikes have flat pedals instead

of clip-in ones which were

sometimes used in BMX racing.

It took BMX racing many decades

of competitions before it was

finally recognised as an

Olympic sport but these riders

are hoping it won't take that

long before BMX freestyle

follows in its tracks. That's

it for this week's show. Don't

forget to log on to our website

and get more info about many of

oour stories. You can send us

your comments and tell us what

you think in the poll. See you

next time.

Closed Captions by CSI This Program is Captioned Live # Theme music I'm Waleed Aly. Hello, welcome to Big Ideas, creating a climate for change. On the show today, Since taking over of the Sydney Theatre Company, as artistic directors have set about greening the place. Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton rainwater harvesting system The vision includes an innovative

rooftop solar energy systems. and one of the country's biggest all buildings, even heritage ones, The duo's aim is to show how can be made more sustainable. the STC convened a panel of experts To highlight their strategy, entrepeneur, and leading scientists, including a Chinese Australian solar the obstacles to sustainability. to discuss the ways to overcome was on hand to moderate, Q and A's Tony Jones handled the introductions. while Cate Blanchett (Applause) and welcome to The Wharf, Good afternoon everyone of the Sydney Theatre Company. which is the home base uncomfortable chairs Today we're sitting on rather of True West, on a set for the production by Sam Shepard, which is a late 20th-Century play about creativity and identity, directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman. One of the key roles of theatre and of the arts, more broadly, is to stimulate social change by bringing vision to action, and debate. through forum, experimentation, we're extremely pleased So, to that end, of the Wharf project in earnest. to have begun the Greening a solar array - The initiative involves this morning - 1,906 panels, which we switched on and recycling, a big shift in our office practice customary brio, beginning in 2008. which the company undertook with and very interestingly for us, Rainwater recycling, a rigorous approach to green design,

of years, by our production team. developed over the last couple in and of themselves All these measures are relatively simple to achieve, that the STC's carbon footprint but taken together, it means will be reduced by around 80%. a correlating loss of quality, We believe change is possible without with an added opportunity and, we believe, for experimentation and exploration. is the very area And we feel that this in which science and the arts in which science are intimately connected. and the embodiment of imagination. Innovation, experimentation We're very pleased cutting-edge technology to be bringing this state-of-the-art, into our creative lives. possible by a unique collaboration The entire project has been made between private philanthropists, both state and federal. corporate and government support, to the generous and visionary donors, But particular thanks must go to the Shi Family Foundation, in particular adviser, Energy Australia. and, of course, to our energy and the team at the STC, So, between myself, Andrew Upton

for coming along today. we'd like to thank you very much our esteemed panel Please join me in welcoming Tony Jones. and our equally esteemed moderator, (Applause) Thank you very much. I like that - esteemed! anybody ever said that about me. I think it's the first time (Laughter) Extinguished - they've said that. Now, then, thank you very much. that in December 2009, Let me start by saying the Climate Action Network, non-government organisation, an international to their anti-pollution efforts. ranked 57 countries according Australia ranked equal worst along with Canada, Kazakhstan, and Saudi Arabia. Actually, I've often said Australia is the Saudi Arabia of coal. Another recent comparison of international climate policies found that Australia's doing less than most of its major trading partners, including the US and Japan, to encourage a shift to cleaner energy supplies.

Australia does have a 20% renewable energy target, it does have a suite of policies supposedly designed to bring down carbon emissions, but for political reasons, it has not managed to put a price on carbon or to introduce an emmissions trading scheme. In the meantime, when it comes to energy, Australia is one of the most coal-dependent nations in the world. The World Coal Association proudly asserts that 77% of Australia's electricity comes from coal. In that, we rank behind South Africa, Poland, and China, which despite huge efforts on the renewable front, still gets 79% of its electricity from coal. Recent data shows that electricity generation produces more than a third of Australia's emissions. 97% of that comes from 24 coal-fired power stations, and we're currently planning to build 12 more. So, you just have to do the mathematics, really. How do you deal, then, with the inevitable consequences of this.

Will clean coal save the day? Can the actions of individual corporations or organisations like the STC or indeed, of individual people, make a big difference? To answer some of these questions today, we've convened what I would like to describe, given our surroundings, a kitchen cabinet. We have the Honourable Bob Carr, longest serving Premier of New South Wales, and now writer, consultant, and passionate defender of the environment. Sam Mostyn, who's a company director, climate change and sustainability strategist, member of the STC board,

and president of the Australian Museum Trust. Dr Zhengrong Shi, who's the founder, chairman and chief executive of Suntech Power. He's responsible in large part for the new solar technology above us today.

He's a man sometimes referred to in the media as the sun king. (Laughter) We have Graham Bradley over on the other end. He's the Chair of the Business Council of Australia. We've got Paul Myers next to him. He's an energy efficiency expert with Energy Australia. And we've got Matthew Wright. Matthew is the executive director of Beyond Zero Emissions. He has a plan for Australia to reach 100% renewable energy by 2020. We'll find out in a little while whether our panel thinks that can really be done. But let's start with the reason we're sitting here on the stage of the Sydney Theatre Company - the Greening of the Wharf program. I'll start with Sam Mostyn, because you're a member of the board here. How much difference do you think individual organisations like this can really make? I think they make a huge and powerful impact. An organisation like the STC approaching the Greening of the Wharf in a way that's about the core business of the theatre, it's about an inspirational moment of using a piece of heritage architecture, and heritage building, in a very innovative way,

to audiences that will come at this with all sorts of questions and be, I think, inspired in a way that often governments can't inspire, and businesses find hard to inspire. So, we need a collective of organisations and businesses right across the community, engaged in this debate in the way they best can. And the Greening of the Wharf is now central to the very fabric of the theatre. And that shouldn't seem odd, and nor should it seem odd that companies or governments taking this stand actually integegrate a greening profile, a low-carbon program, in such a way. Dr Shi, you've put money into this project. We should state that at the outset. Why did you do it? We just want to demonstrate solar is an emerging technology, it can play a big role in the energy sector. I think Sydney Harbour is one of the most high-profile, beautiful place, and it matches the scene. So, very luckily, we met Cate and Andrew, and it took us three years to find this location. So, we did it today. I want to talk more about now what individuals can do, and we've got a few other guests down in the audience. Let me invite Bernie Hobbs to come up to this microphone for a minute.

Bernie, you're a science writer, a broadcaster, we all listen to you on the radio. I know that you're proud owner of the first electric car to be registered in New South Wales. I know that because I've heard you talk about it on the radio. So, you clearly believe individuals can make a difference. Tell us why. We always talk about investing in our future, and I don't think many of us realise that every time we spend money, you know, a dollar, $1,000, whatever - we're investing in our future because we're supporting markets that do things in a current way. And if we choose to buy things that are developed, planned, constructed, mobilised in more sustainable ways, then we're supporting those markets. And for me, with the electric car, it was as much a decision - because my old corolla was getting clapped out - and if I'd have bought a petrol-based car, I would've been committing to sponsoring the oil industry

for another eight or ten years, however long I had the car for. And I just couldn't come at that. Sam, I know that it must be interesting for you to hear these kind of voices, but you talk about this project here being an example. What needs to happen to make this kind of example more commonplace. Well, I guess, in the case of the theatre, we had great leadership. So, we had Cate and Andrew with an idea that sat at the core of their leadership of the company, supported magnificently by a generous donor in Dr Shi and his family. So, I think, you need leadership. We certainly need, I think, a cost on carbon. I think we need signals accross the economy - that actually help us make these decisions - so that companies can move. Companies want certainty, and pricing laws are a great way to give certainty to markets. So, leadership, the right price signals and then we need to support and celebrate every time there's an individual action that we've heard about already, and know that they are all working in tandem to create a change, and much more sustainable community. I'd also say I think we've gotta change some of the language. I think, unfortunately, the language of climate change has sat very much in the science, in the problem, in a very negative sense of just how big this problem is and how overwhelming it is. There is a hugely optimistic side to this debate about our capacity as human beings, collecting, as individuals in groups, in companies - at the Sydney Theatre Company,

and inspiring each other to do things that actually make our world better. And it doesn't mean a hair-shirt approach. This is about actually enlivening ourselves. And dealing with waste - I mean, I wish there was a government

that would just say this climate change discussion should always be about stopping the wastage in our system. We waste energy, we waste water, we waste paper, we waste our resources. And while we claim, as a country, to be a resource-based country, I'd love us to be a resourceful country, a resourceful country that's pulling on all of its great talents, and, similar to the Sydney Theatre Company, dealing with the waste, measuring it, getting on and dealing with it, and inspiring each other. As many people have said, climate change is a problem we can solve. We've got the technology, we just have to have the will and the right signals. OK, talking about leadership, we've got a business leader over on the other side, Graham Bradley, do you share this kind of optimism or are you skeptical about it? I share the importance of people taking the initiative to create a model. And I think what the Sydney Theatre Company has done here is created a project, which will be a demonstration project, and a lot of people will be inspired by it. But I think Sam left one thing out of her analysis - two things, perhaps - as to what we need to make this much more universal.

One is it needs to be economically viable. This is a subsidised project - it's subsidised by philanthropy, and we can't completely solve this problem by putting a huge amount of the world's resources into philanthropic ventures, they need to be commercially viable. The second thing we need is I don't think it's true to say we currently have the technologies. I think these technologies, as Dr Shi said,

are rapidly improving

so that we will get to a point

where there's more commercially viable solutions available to ordinary citizens as well as businesses. I'm sure the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, believes he's got strong industry backing when he says that a price on carbon is a great big new tax.

I mean, do you, and does your industry group, share that view? Look, you can use the semantics of tax, if you like, but it is an impost on the economy if we're doing things that aren't economically viable and paying a return. And when Bernie talked about her investment in electric car,

that's not an investment that she'll get a return on for many years. And maybe one day, we will. But right at the moment, we won't. So, briefly, does your organisation have a position on a price on carbon? Ah, yes, and that is that there's no silver bullet in solving the emissions crisis in the world. We need a multitude of approaches and a market-based mechanism to set a price on carbon is one of those many elements. But let's not think that we can set a price on carbon that's going to suddenly put all our industries out of business or cause them to change overnight. Bob Carr, let me bring you in, we've seen - the politics of this has become quite heated in Australia over quite a long time. Why is it so hard to actually get political leadership on this issue? Well, we were on the point of having a price on carbon in December last year. And the Coalition devoured its own leader on the issue and the Green political party held out for a scheme they thought was more pure, but as a result of that senate vote on December 2nd, we've now got nothing. and if we'd priced carbon then by adopting Kevin Rudd's ETS, there would would now be in Victoria an $800 million gas plant under contruction, and capital would be being withdrawn from those heavily polluting brown coal-fired power stations in Victoria. We are playing a terrible price. When that vote in the senate went down, there were, in this city, hundreds of millions of dollars withdrawn overnight from investment in renewables, or in a transition fuel like gas

and in plans for avoided deforestation. It's tragic. And the sooner the Greens and the Labor Government reach an agreement on a price on carbon, I prefer, through an ETS, rather than a carbon tax, for various reasons,

the sooner we are sending a signal, like 32 other countries in the world that now price carbon. Bob, very briefly, you mentioned the Greens voting it down in the senate, But is Kevin Rudd culpable here? Because the Labor Government was prepared to fight a climate change election in January of this year, but he baulked at the gate. I think the consensus in the Labor party now is that we should have had a double dissolution, fought on the senate obstruction to pricing carbon.

And I believe that the Labor Government would have got returned, the worst that could happen would have been a reduced majority and a mandate to get through the senate the ETS that was defeated in December. Let's go back to Graham Bradley.

Does the Business Council of Australia want to see

descisive leadership from government on this issue to set a price on carbon?

It's important that we have the right descisions here. We need to have policies that are not going to fundamentally damage jobs in Australia, send jobs abroad, and so whatever we do, and I personally favour, as Bob does,

a market-based mechanism, such as emissions trading, as one part of that, part of many policies that we need on energy efficiency and so on,

not all of which will be fixed by a carbon tax or an emissions trading system. But we need to have those policies that can be graduated into our economy in a way that doesn't weaken our economy, because ultimately, Tony, having a strong economy is essential for people to continue their support

for this sort of initiative. You'll be getting feedback from your members, so I've got to ask you this - are they stalling investment descisions, waiting for a price on carbon?

Well, clearly Australia has under-invested in its electricity generation capacity for many years now. And those sort of descisions are waiting for some certainty from government, which doesn't neccassarily mean a carbon tax. Alright, Sam, wanna get in there? I just want to say one thing, that apart from the carbon price debate, most companies that I think are credible and doing the right thing by their customers and their shareholders have actually tried to impute a cost of carbon and are trying to deal with the current waste in their systems. And if you look at how that's making better companies, there's a real message in that this wastage that goes on, that's not accounted for, is helped by having these kind of costs. These externalities brought back into the business and dealt with and I think those companies dealing with this well now are actually finding that they're saving costs and cost-savings drop into their bottom line. Things weren't measured, whether it was saving electricity costs,

water costs, it's been a very good thing for companies to do, to clean up their internal dynamics, in looking at the possibility of a cost that may be coming in. Let me bring Dr Shi back in here,

and listening to this never-ending political debate in Australia, are you have to be working predominantly in China here they have a command ecconomy? Where you can just make the descisions with a stroke of a pen? I found that the government

is probably different from company or from individuals. They have many things on the agenda so they have their own priorities.

I just can't understand why the government can't put this 'human survival' as a top priority. That's something I don't understand. Because, you know, solar is a bit more expensive, the electric car is a bit more expensive, but do we believe we need an alternative soloution? If that's what we decide to do, then that's what we believe, we got to invest. I mean, take solar as an example. Now we look at prices at the moment of solar panel. Now it's about about $1.90. I'll tell you, in about five years time, solar panel prices will continue to reduce. We believe in five years time many countries will reach Green Parity. Means, the electricity price generated from solar will be comparable to the electricity prices we pay at home, this moment. So I think, we got to have a view, that this industry, any new industry, is progressing very fast in the right direction, so the government got to have confidence in our people. I talked earlier about the mathematics and the equation that we're all facing is that China generates 79% of its electricity from coal. The mathematics tell you that if they keep producing coal-fire powerstations at the current rate - one a week, I think you told me - a projected number of 600 in India and China, new coal-fire powerstations in the next decade. If we continue at this rate, then all of these things that we're talking about are pretty irrelevant, aren't they? Because that will push us way above the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere that scientists tell us are safe or even sustainable. Well don't worry too much about that, because that's their plan. I mean, I've already spent 10 years in China as a mature man, so what I witness is usually plan cannot keep up with change. So they made a plan for 600 today, but they'll probably change their mind in two years or three years. So I think, especially when costs of renewable energy continue to drop - like wind, you know, five years ago, China only had 500 megawatt wind,

but today, China has the biggest wind market.

So I think, you know, they will keep up. No, there is optimism, I agree with that, but for example, with the great penetration you're now getting of solar power into the Chinese market,

roughly how many large coal-fire power stations would that be the equivalent of? OK, for example, when something is a little less than 10 years old, accumulately, if you assume average coal power station in a plant with the capacity of about 50 megawatts, so we're already going to deliver the equivalent of about eight power plants in the last 10 years. This year alone, we will deliver three power plants, so in 1,500 megawatt. Next year we will deliver probably five to six, the equivalent of the power plant. In 2015, we will deliver 20 power plants, so only in five years time. And so what do you hope, or imagine, that China's reliance on coal-fire power will be in 15, 20 years time? I'm not sure we have enough coal to support this plan. There's plenty in Australia, we keep sending it to them.

Let me just very briefly, Bob Carr, I know you have a keen sense of what's at stake here. Give us a sense of what will happen if China and India continue on the same growth path with their coal-fire powerstations? Well, we're very close to being able to say that there's been an average two-degree warming around the planet since the start of the industrial revolution. And that's deadly serious. And that could be coming a bit sooner than we've been assuming. Certainly evidence is building up that that is the case. And what worries me, what renders me somewhat pessimistic, is that the advances in the new technologies are just -

as impressive as they are in so many respects - are just a bit too slow to give us any sense of comfort, given what we've already banked in the upper atmosphere,

and what is going there now. The stakes are very high, the time is running out, and the advances in technology, even at their most impressive are still distrubingly slow. I also want to make a comment about India. Before, people always think solar is for rich people, rich countries, but now it's for poor countries because they can afford to use it. For India, 40% of people without electricity, who can use solar to power them, use a wireless communication device, I think a combination of these two technologies. The people living in the village have access to entertainment, education and information - everything. And it saved India trillions of dollars to build this great infrastructure. Alright, let's speak to someone, another person, in fact, who refuses to be pessimistic - Matthew Wright. Now, you argue that with the right investment Australia could transform its energy sector to 100% renewable energy - zero emissions - in ten years. Tell us how. Well, basically, we could do this with a particular kind of solar technology and wind power. Now, the solar technology is one that Australians aren't that familiar with, but huge research programs have gone on in Spain, Germany, Italy, Russia and the US in the '70s and '80s that developed this to a state where it's ready to roll. And it's called Solar Thermal with Storage. So that's base-load solar. These power plants, instead of directly generating electricity like the photovoltaic panels that are on the grid here on the roof of the theatre, these particular power plants have a sea of mirrors, a field of mirrors surrounding a central tower and they reflect the light off each of the individually tracked mirrors up to the top of the tower,

and at the base of tower is a large tank of salt, of molten salt. And that's pumped up the tower and receives the heat of the thousands of mirrors

and it's banked in another tank. It's banked in the same temperatures that a coal-fired power generating system operates at. So that any time, day or night, you need electricity

water's passed past the salt, flashed to steam and makes electricity. So together with the University of Melbourne Energy Research Institute

my group, Beyond Zero Emissions, which is made up of pro bono researchers from around the country, experts who work in the electricity market, who work in engineering, in the automotive companies put together all their time and have written a plan for how we can build the transmission network, how we can do the energy efficiency and how we can build the solar thermal and the wind to deliver a 100% renewable energy economy and at a price Australia can afford. We'll come to the price issue in a moment, because it is substantial. We shouldn't ignore that fact and we'll talk about that in a minute.

But, there's been this very powerful argument here,

operating from prime ministers on down that you can't get base-load power from solar energy. Yeah, well, I'll just say that's a case of people not being exposed to what's actually happening on a global basis, what's happening in Spain, what's happening in the Middle East and North Africa, in China now, in India and in the United States. And that is that they're building billions and billions of dollars worth of these molten salt storage solar thermal power plants, these large scale base-load solar plants. In Germany, for instance, with PV, the technology that Dr Shi sells, They've got 16,000 megawatts of PV by the end of this year. Now, 16,000 megawatts - can you imagine what happens if you wedge even half of that on the Australian Eastern Seaboard grid? It's almost goodbye to all that air conditioning peak that we hear about over and over and over again.

They're expelling 8,000 megawatts just this year in Germany, in one year. One year would end that debate around air conditioners that we keep hearing about, that's painful. You know, that is the rate of installation. In Australia we think PV's 'tut tut' a few panels on the school or 100 megawatts is going to bankrupt some of the members of the Business Council of Australia. (Laughter) But the Germans, the guys who are leading industrialists, the best car manufacturers, from one of the biggest car manufacturing countries in the world - I think number two! That's heavy industry. And what do they do? They use less energy than us and they install 8,000 megawatts of photovoltaic in just one year. How is it that they're living in a cave and it's a really cold country and they drive Mercedes? That's, er... (Laughs) (Applause) I want to add one more comment about Germany. They reduced the feed-in tariff twice within this year.

And how much? I assure you - 10% in the beginning of the year, 15% in the middle of the year, in October. Because of fast reduction of the price. You invest in these technologies with government backing up front and it rides a cost reduction curve and it's been proven. It's been proven that ten years ago the Germans invested in the PV,

they installed it in the country and it's the best foreign aid job ever, because now, in every country around the world - poor people in India and China can afford PV where they didn't have refrigeration for their food, they didn't have medical services. But now Dr Shi can provide them with solar panels at a price they can afford and they've got health care.

And that's because the Germans decided in good faith for the world to lower the price of that technology - I'm sure that most of the audience knows, but PV is photovoltaic, photovoltaic cells, solar cells. Let's just go - we're lucky enough to have someone from the energy industry, Paul Myers from energy Australia. It's perfect. All your problems solved in one fell swoop. You don't have to worry about renewing these coal-fire power generators or building new ones or gas or whatever,

you can just go this route - or can you? The issue of base-load generation came up then and probably - maybe if I could just explain that in simpler terms. The issue basically is that on the electricity grid we can't store energy at the moment. So, we have to match our generation to meet the demand requirements of the community. The renewable generators such as wind and solar, that we have in increasing amounts on our grid now, they're intermittent and they actually can't do that matching. And we shouldn't underestimate the technology challenge of that. So, I guess, Matthew's certainly right to say - one of the ways we can address that is to try to get cost effective storage of energy. So that, for example, if you've got solar panels on your roof now, and an increasing number of Australians have that,

it's putting out its maximum energy in the middle of the day. But the reality is, the average residential home uses most of its energy at 6 or 7 PM at night. How do we overcome that issue? If solar thermal storage can be matured that's one fantastic opportunity for us. I'm interested - are you examining that opportunity? I know that Matthew and his team have travelled to have a look at these technologies. Is Energy australia doing the same thing?

We're actually - our core business is actually not generation. We have the grid that connects the generators - Sure, but you have tremendous influence

over what kind of power you buy. That's true. But I guess what we have been focusing on and we've been doing this with our smart grid project is looking at storage on our network. We've been implementing renewables in critical mass including storage, we've used battery storage in our case, to see what we can do to overcome these challenges. I think to be able to see these technologies mature and be delivered to supply 100% of Australia's energy needs within a decade, that's going to be a challenge. But even if we can get a third of the way there,

I think that would be an enormous achievement in itself.

And of course you're not going to do that without a price on carbon. I'm sorry to be a bore on the subject, but - on any graph, solar is up there - whatever form, whatever new technology. But the price of coal is way down here. And that's because eastern Australia is a coal seam. We live on a coal seam. And it's close to the surface and it's generally high quality and it's cheap. Until you start to disadvantage carbon by applying an extra price to it, those other technologies don't come within reach.

They don't come within reach fast enough.

OK. I'll bring you in in a minute, Graham, because I know you're desperate to jump in. But I want to bring you in to talk about the cost of it, because we need to hear what that is first. It is a massive cost in fact. It's $360 billion over ten years, which, in fact, is roughly equivalent to ten national broadband networks in terms of cost. That means you have to do one national broadband network worth of infrastructure spending each year for ten years. So, just tell us how that would happen. Matthew - OK. Your plan. Yeah, I'm happy to answer that. First I'll just point out - there's actually two ways.

Bob said you've got to have a price on carbon, but there are two ways of doing this and the first one is a price on carbon, you lift the cost of black energy. But what's more successful in riding cost reduction curves, and I'm sure Dr Shi will back me up here, is that a feed in tariff, which is what germany has used to install the massive 8,000 megawatts of PV this year, actually causes the price to come down a given technology Whereas a carbon tax or carbon price only slowly ramps, with renewable technologies the price comes down. So they actually work the opposite way. With renewables we expect to pay less in the future, but with carbon pricing mentality we expect to pay more in the future. So it's the opposite. We're going to pay less for these decarbonising technologies in the future. No, in terms of the cost, the $37 billion per year. Let's put it in terms of things people understand. We buy $54 billion a year worth of new cars. And we import over $30 billion of it. We don't manufacture them all here in Australia. It's a million cars. That's a lot of cars. A huge amount of industry to import and manufacture a million cars. We spend $37 billion on insurance. This is a $1,200 billion economy, so you have to think of it in order of the size of the economy in order to put $37 billion in context. We actually are releasing a separate policy options document to show various options of how you could do that. But one way is that you could pass it through to electricity costs as a benchmark and that would add something like 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour electrical, so it'd be about a 30% increase for domestic retail customers, that's a person in their home. Which, if you listen to government agencies that help you with energy efficiency, they usually find you a 30% saving without doing much work. So you can effectively end up paying the same if you're smart and you follow those state government energy programs. For business, it'd be a 40/50% increase in the cost of electricity. You've got aluminum today which would be exposed, but it's exposed today and it's subsidised today. So, either it continues to get subsidised and looked after or, just like what would happen today if it wasn't looked after, it would go out of business and ship offshore. So I don't see where the situation changes for those big heavy energy industry - like your zinc smelters and your aluminum smelters who are really creating this debate that it's all too hard. I call it the cartoon campaign. They're already subsidised today, so why can't they be subsidised tomorrow or ship out. OK, let's hear from Graham Bradley. I mean, it's a big project, are you buying? No, I don't buy that. I don't accept the economics. And we already under price electricity to everyone in this room. And I think Matthew is right to say the costs, those additional costs would be passed on to everyone in this room who uses electricity. And that's the price that will be passed on on top of the already substantial under pricing of electricity to retail customers in Australia. There's only one state in Australia that's abolished retail caps. So that people - households get charged the proper cost of their generation. It's subsidised by business. Hang on. What about your members? You've got members who pay three, four - the cost of generation at the power plant. They're paid to get it distributed to them across the network, so, hang on, I think they're the ones who are getting - you're trying to turn it around and say that retail customers are getting the subsidies, but in fact your members are getting the subsidies. They're paying the cost less than generation

or the cost of generation. Matthew, people in government over many years have encouraged those industries into Australia by doing appropriate arrangements with them to encourage them here. (Laughter) And we can push them out offshore and that wont do anything for the global emissions. I didn't argue for that, but I just pointed out - I said you could argue for your subsidies to continue to meet the power cost. The real issue here is that we should be trying every technology possible. Matthew's passionate about a particular one. It's currently highly subsidised in places like Spain, an economy that's been very severely damaged by the amount it's put into this - The German economy is the fastest growing economy in the world right now. And the German economy is now planning to rejuvenate 18 nuclear power stations. In other words, they're going with every possible technology. Just as China is also not just relying on coal, it's building nuclear power stations. I think, before we put all our eggs in one technology basket we've got to realise there's a whole range of solutions required here. It's be a high risk strategy - I can see you're trying to get in there, Matthew. I'd like to point out on the nuclear power stations, they are extending the life of nuclear power stations. They're coming from a family where people have been trained in nuclear physics, you know, have got exposed to the industry. The extension of the life of existing nuclear power plants, I can understand that. It costs more to shut down a nuclear power plant than it does to keep one limping along. Let's hear from Sam because she's trying to get in as well. It's fascinating being part of this kind of conversation because I think this is why we are all so confused. this is a very technical set of concerns - economic concerns, subsidies and we are stranded in this conversation nationally and globally. And if you go back to what Bob Carr said a while ago - We sit on the precipice - If you believe the climate scientists as I do and many people do,

we are sitting on the precipice of something rather than to make a decision we are prepared to lose or we are set on a path to see all these things totally irrelevant, maybe not in our lifetime but in our kids lifetime a very different set of events happening. A set of tumultuous changes in our bio-diversity services, our water services. The kind of wars and challenges around resources that we thought were bad back in previous wars, these will eclipse those kind of conflicts. So we either have a decision as Dr Shi has said, about the kind of life we're prepared to set up and be good ancestors. Now if we want to be good ancestors, this conversation has got to find a place that says, maybe we've got to re-think the kind of growth that we are anticipating, the cost of that growth - You'll hate this Graham, but GDP is a terrible measure of our growth - (Applause) I don't disagree. No disagreement from me. And you've heard great econonmists and you've heard the head of the Treasury, Ken Henry, talk about the fact that we are not measuring and accounting for the externalities of our behaviour at the moment. So when Bernie does buy her electric car, she's making a statement that actually she's putting a value on the capital she's putting in there because she's not prepared to put any more money into the oil industry. She's making a decision as an individual but she's sending a message to a manufacturer. So Sam, would you back a government that said We're going to make a vast transformational change to the way we generate power and it's going to cost all of us a huge amount of money And set out in the way that Matthew talks about it $37 billion a year compared to how much we spend on insurance etc. Is that the sort of vision you would like to see from governments? Well, I want to see it from governments, business and communities and when we do get hints of it people respond positively. So, there is a low carbon growth plan that's been distributed by the Climate Works Foundation in this country, that actually says - not the same as Matthew's plan, but says - We can do, we can move a low carbon growth plan, we can grow well but we can grow in a different way using exisiting technologies within exisiting industries, but we're going to have to bare some costs and we're going to have to change our behaviour. The idea that we keep shopping the way we shop, buying the things we are buying has got to change. You heard examples of that and if we're not prepared to do that

then its a bit like the discussion about slavery - Bob knows this well. When slavery was attempted to be abolished the argument was that economies would collapse. Now someone, a group of people, took the decision that the cost of paying wages to people - instead of having a slave economy -

would be absorbed and people would lift and change.

And it's exactly the same kind of conversation we should be having. About our own behaviour lifting - We're going to pay a price if we do nothing so let's pay it now properly and understand what we are doing with great leadership and great community involvement. And not get stranded in a discussion that I think removes us from what people really want to get on and do. (Applause) Just hold on for one second, I just want to hear Bob Carr on this

because it is frequently said in recent days, the current Labor government - the minority government though it is, doesn't have a narrative. So, I'm wondering is there a narrative in these kind of arguments that Matthew is putting forward? Oh yes, look, I think the political disadvantage to the Federal Labor Government from not pursuing an Emmissions Trading Scheme is far more serious for them, far worse for them, then temporizing. I think they've now got to pursue this - because the Labor party - if they don't, The Labor Party would be hurt not just at the next election, but hurt beyond that. The public wanted to see it and Labor paid a price in the last election because once it was blocked in the senate, Labor moved sideways away from it and didn't have an alternative and didn't have a trigger for moving sideways away from it.

I've got no doubt that Julia Gillard - and indeed the whole Labor Government have absorbed that message and that they are intent on getting a scheme back to the senate that prices carbon, because your vision - as positive as it is, as exciting as it is, hasn't got a chance of getting close until we disadvantage carbon - Or we advantage the renewables - - No, no, no, no, - But, But, Bob Carr let me just... - I've got to be emphatic about this.

- You can be emphatic. You can pour susbidies into the renewables... ..and it works... ..and we do that and we do that already.

But the best advice coming from economists - who want to see a pricing of carbon, is that, in the end, you've got to have the market choose. If we try to pick winners by shovelling a range of different subsidies - feed-in tarrifs and cash hand outs, we are less likely to have movement to cleaner, renewable sources of energy than we would if we allowed the market to disadvantage carbon and to allow the market to choose which are the best - there might be more wind in the mix. OK. OK. We are paying a terrible price because we are not pricing carbon. I'm going to interrupt that debate because we've got... we have one of the world leaders in solar technology... ..I'm just saying you need to feed in tarrifs aswell if you don't have the complimetary measure, then you're just not going to get riding those cost reduction curves and get your PV for the world or your solar farm.

I'm going to take advantage - and from your point of view you probably want to hear this too, to hear from one of the world's leaders in solar technology, Dr Shi. Is it possible, do you think, you've been listening to Matthew's vision for transforming the Australian energy economy - Could it happen here? Will it happen first in China? Well I think that ah, we are facing dilemma here in the energy crisis. Probably nobody doubts this crisis. On one hand conventional energy is depleting fast on the other hand we haven't found a new solution. So we are in the process and we need to have a bridging solution. And, you know, I attend many similar type forums in China debating all the similar things. So I think really Government needs to play a leading role because Government is an administrator of the country. And if they don't take responsibility, who else can? From my point of view I always think we need to have an over all plan.

OK. Solar is small. It is little bit more expensive. You know, we can admit that because I talk to my staff, if we say we have 5% electricity market, we can not provide. We can not supply. Because that's because we need to grow our industry in a massive way. But on the other hand, you know, we can not always focus on cost. I don't think it's a matter of cost now - it's now a matter of survival. I mean, everybody in this room - watch the movie '2012'. You want to save money or you want to cut into a giant ship. (Laughter) Right? So, I think that's why we need to do multiple ways - it has to be three dimensional. You know, technology - you need to work on technology to reduce the cost. Government needs to work on regulation, general public need to prepare for the consequence. You know, we don't want to see the situation in ten years later, we debate the same thing, for that, we won't have enough time. Graham Bradley we had a brief conversation out there. And I don't think you do agree that it is a matter of survival. No look, I think this is a risk management issue...

(Sniggers) ..and it's all about the time of transition. If we are heading to a lower carbon economy it's a question of how much are we going to pay, how soon and are we going to be betting on the right technologies.

My view is we've only started the journey of technological innovation in this area. What Matthew thinks is the solution or what Dr Shi is, is going to change if we take another five or ten years. Of course nuclear is with us now and we are not even putting that on the agenda. But there are technologies for example that can take carbon dioxide out of coal burning stations and turn it into algae and harvest the algae to create bio-fuels and the bio-fuels can be used to substitute for oil and the waste products can be used as high protein feed for cattle. There are all these technologies that are only at the drawing board stage. but there are hundreds-of-millions -of-dollars going into them, in some cases from energy companies because human ingenuity will solve this problem for us if we keep a mix of solutions and don't try to bet on a winner now. But aren't you actually betting on keeping coal-fire power stations and coal generation alive? I'm not betting on it Tony, It's the reality of our economy as Bob says - this is the cost of electricity under coal, this is the cost under wind and solar, because they have to be backed up by base-load coal or base-load gas. Or some other base-load which we don't yet have. Matthew - a brief answer - Yeah, you don't need to back them up with those technologies because we have pumped hydro storage that can give you dynamic power when you need it... Not enough. ..we can upgrade the snowy, but most importantly we've got solar thermal storage and that's a 24 hour solar plant that any time day or night you need the power - their dispatched. And it's $20 Billion roll out in just three years in Spain. He's talking $100 million here and there for research project on bio-algae. I'm talking $20 billion roll out by the company that owns Leighton Holdings. Let's hear again from Energy Australia from Paul. Paul are you inspired to go looking closer at the kind of technologies - the solar technologies that Matthew is talking about, which can produce, he says, base-load power. Oh look, I am certainly inspired by what Matthew has said and the vision that they have created. I think it is very important we focus on these types of renewables particularly those that can provide storage and meet those so-called base-load requirements that are fundamental to the way that we use energy. But, I guess if I could make one key point, what I would say is, there's been alot of focus here about the cost and the time to implement these changes in the way that we can generate more sustainably. One thing that's been touched on a little bit but I think overlooked to an extent and that's energy efficiency. The thing that we can implement very quickly and we can actually save money rather than being a cost to the economy is using energy more efficiently and the other part of that - is that it's something that really empowers individuals, whether it's households or businesses. We've seen a drop of around 2% per year over the last four years Is it not really surprising when your electricity prices are going up by massive leaps and bounds every month? Well, look, maybe that's a factor, but I think also the broad-based focus on efficiency is gaining a traction Lets' cut to the chase - Here's a tough question for you - you're from Energy Australia. You're prepared to obey the law and sign up to 20% renewable energy by 2020. If Matthew's vision is attractive, as you said it is, why wouldn't you boost that and say you'll be signing up to 100% renewables in ten years? Well, look if... ..Spell it out. ..if the technology was proven, mature, and shown to be cost effective in a way that was acceptable to our customer base - because ultimately it's our customers that who would pay any cost premium for those renewables. We would be all for it. Can I ask you a quick question though? Your customers are paying cost premiums right now aren't they for new wires which you are stringing everywhere around the country, so that you can carry the load that's caused by air conditioners in New South Wales and Queensland? So in fact, people without air conditioners are paying a huge amount of extra money for people who do have air conditioners

to run them right through Summer. Well that's not exactly correct. I guess, certainly it's true that we are in a major cycle of infrastructure investment for the electricity grid. And the main reason for that is actually about aging infrastructure. Most of our grid in Australia was built in the boom time - of the 50s and 60s and the reality is a lot of that infrastructure has reached the end of its life, and it needs to be replaced. So, however, it is also partly being driven by increasing demand and air conditioners is certaintly part of that story. So, that I guess part of why we're seeing price rises at the moment. Let's get some final thoughts from our whole panel - I'll start with Sam.

I guess I'll reflect more on the comment of energy efficiency because that is in our hands and back to understanding our own behavioural change it is a huge piece of low hanging fruit, as we've heard,

and Bernie and I are involved in a group called One Million Women which is just to inspire one million Australian women to save one tonne of carbon - a tiny amount, in the course of a year. And what we have discovered through that program is that women - who makle up 80% of the consumer decision makers in our economy, actually just want tips on how to do it. They don't want to actually be told why they need to do it or have the debate. They just want to know how to save money across the dimensions of their spending and their patterns. And in the process, the first thing they're saving is the electricity. So, I think this is as much about just communicating well. Giving people the power individually and collectively to act, and sending a price signal directly. The final thing I will say is we are sitting in a theatre that has inspired today's conversation, that has an array on its roof that is demonstrating what leadership and techonology and a bit of guts - does take. And integrating an idea into the heart and soul of an organisation - this happens to be theatre company - it could be a home it could be a company, it needs to be government. And I think we should take great inspiration from the work that Cate and Anderw did in coming into the theatre to create this moment because it was an odd thing to suggest - at the time. (Laughter) Let's go with Graham. Look,there's a lot of promising technologies. One Matthew mentioned was featured on the front page of the National Geographic a year ago. We all know about them there, they are not all yet proven but many of them will be. I think the real solution here is that Governments shouldn't be picking winners. I agree with Bob - We need to give the right price signals and energy costs alone going up - the cost of oil, the cost of coal, the cost of wind and the cost technology of nuclear and so on - that's all going to put the price of energy up and that will encourage the lowest cost solution

so we need to have a range of solutions here, they're not all based on a single solution of cost of carbon but we need to invest in R and D into new technologies that could take us even further than things we know today. OK. You know, Paul first. And Paul, I'd just like to ask you - Are you going to take a little seed into the boardroom of Energy Australia and say -

'Hey I just heard a really good idea.' OK. Yes. There is no single silver bullet solution and I really do believe that energy efficiency is actually the thing that first and foremost we should be focusing on right now because of the enormous opportunities for carbon reduction. Matthew? Look, we can use commercially available technology - that means you can go to a company, sign the cheque and they'll install it. It's ready to go today. 2010 today. And it's ready to go off the shelf. Or we can just keep trying to delay trick - and the delay trick is to say - there's no silver bullets and some magic technology will be invented, like faith - like the coming or something - will be invented in the future and then we'll be able to do it.

If there's one position we've got to take to enable the remotest chance of any of this happening is to get the Australian Senate to enact an Emissions Trading Scheme. Aand to get progress between the Greens and the Labor government on a package that can go to that Senate and get enacted. OK. I'm going to give the final word to the man they call 'The Sun King.' (Laughs) Yeah. I think I want to stress a couple of points. I think first of all, as I said earlier, the government needs to give us a very clear road map of our energy future - safe and energy efficient.

So they need to provide us with an overall plan. Secondly, we as a community, general public - we need to change our life. Lifestyle has to be a green lifestyle.

Saving is something that is the least that we can do the way we are doing now. And finally I will say - I encourage everybody in this room, if you haven't, to out solar on your roof, you'd better do it (Audience chuckles) because you look at NSW Government - they already reduced subsidy from 60 cents per kilo watt hour from this year and before to 20 cents a kilo watt an hour of course we will extend the return for a time maybe three-four years to 70-80 years. But you can imagine your electricity prices will rise with time and you can always call Suntec City's Australian office. Who will provide you with a solution. (Laughter) Thank you.

(Applause) OK. Our kitchen cabinet behaved very well, I think. In fact, less like a kitchen cabinet than a group of people - a family, let' say, arguing around a kitchen table. I grew up like that and it's great to see it's still happoening. Thank you very much to our panel. (Applause) Panelists from the 'Creating a Climate for Change' event at the Sydney Theatre Company. That's all from Big Ideas for today. But don't forget, you can enjoy encore performances of this and many other debates and panel discussions at our website. And look out for more Big Ideas on ABC News 24 at 1:00pm on Saturdays and Sundays. I'm Waleed Aly, see you again. (Closed Captions by CSI) This Program is Captioned Live. New Zealand slowly

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