Cross-sectoral coalition issues urgent Call To Action on Climate Education Strategy
A coalition of organisations across a range of sectors, including universities, industry and environmental advocacy, have issued a joint call for a national Climate Education Strategy to ensure that Australia can meet its emissions reduction and energy transition targets.
Convened by Deakin Energy Networks - part of Deakin University - the coalition has released a Call To Action, warning that the development of a comprehensive strategy is integral to delivering a workforce with the necessary qualifications and skills to successfully enable this transition.
The coalition has written to the panel currently conducting a review of the Universities Accord to:
"…urge the review of the Universities Accord to recommend that the proposed new Tertiary Education Commission, Jobs and Skills Australia and relevant stakeholders develop a Climate Education Strategy to embed career-linked climate skills in all relevant university courses, and lead work on identifying and funding universities to fill gaps in relevant fields of study and skills development."
The call comes amid grave fears that, on the current trajectory, Australia does not have the workforce skills and qualifications to meet its emissions reduction and transition to renewables targets, presenting significant risks to the environment, the economy and Australian society more broadly.
Deakin Energy Networks' submission to the Accord argues that Australia is seen as lagging other nations when it comes to education system readiness for a clean energy economy and transition.
This concern is heightened with the increased urgency of the push to renewables at an Australian domestic level, along with rapidly-moving global developments, including the COP 28 pledge to triple the world's renewable energy capacity by 2030.
The submission states that: "We are concerned about the shortage of relevant graduates and professionals in the pipeline for the renewable energy sector workforce to design, build and operate the necessary infrastructure and networks."
Deakin Energy Networks Director, Peter Hansford, said the diversity of signatories to the Call To Action highlighted the issue's urgency and importance.
"This Call To Action is an unequivocal expression of a shared view from a broad range of organisations, across sectors, of the urgent need for a national Climate Education Strategy," Mr Hansford said.
"Our consensus highlights the critical need for collaboration between all components of our education system, industry, NGOs, unions and government, to ensure our environmental, economic and social wellbeing into the future."
The Call To Action signatories are from a range of backgrounds, including the academic sectors, peak industry and professional bodies, renewable energy and environmental experts and business groups.