The Climate & Energy College is an international team of early career researchers. The College conducts climate and energy systems research in an interdisciplinary environment, advancing knowledge and informing responses to the complex challenges of climate change.
We are a world-class research hub located at the University of Melbourne collaborating with leading Australian and German research institutions. Our research is centred on Climate Change and Energy Transitions.
News & Upcoming Events
Launch of the EU-AU Building and Appliance Efficiency ReportAustralian-German Climate & Energy CollegeThursday, 17 March 2022 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
European Union and Australian institutional structures, past policy measures and present policy approaches related to building and appliance energy and climate response have much in common, and important differences. Both the similarities and differences provide fertile ground for increased future research collaboration.
Both the EU and Australia face challenges in dramatically scaling up action to cut carbon emissions associated with appliances and buildings, as well as adapting to more extreme climate conditions and managing equitable transitions. Both have substantial stocks of existing buildings and equipment that will maintain high levels of emissions unless operating efficiency is optimised and/or they are renovated or replaced. Climates and availability of renewable energy vary widely across both regions.
At this event, Alan Pears and Rosalinda Bustamante launched the ‘Building and Appliance Energy Efficiency Report: Opportunities for EU-Australian Collaboration’, which is available here.Speaker:
Alan Pears AM is a Fellow at the Climate and Energy College and a Senior Industry Fellow at RMIT, where he taught for many years. He has worked in the energy field since the late 1970s, mainly on demand side issues and has played key roles in development of several Australian energy efficiency and climate abatement programs across all sectors, including appliance and building efficiency and industry/business energy management. In recent years, he has worked with the Australian Alliance for Energy Productivity, framing and applying the ‘value chain’ approach to energy productivity for the refrigerated cold chain, food processing and application of high temperature heat pumps. He has evaluated urban carbon strategies with the Asia Pacific Economic Community, and has worked with several Australian communities on low carbon strategies. Alan advises business, governments and communities.
Rosalinda is in her final year of the Master of Environment at the University of Melbourne and has a degree in law and business. She has worked in the areas of sustainability, climate change, environmental law, and finance. She has led different community engagement projects in the international youth climate movement since 2014.
Digitalization and Sustainability: How is Digital Finance affecting the sustainable development arena?Australian-German Climate & Energy CollegeTuesday, 15 March 2022 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
It has become increasingly apparent that leaders at the local and subnational level must think outside the box in order to match the results of past performance and simultaneously adapt to accelerating changes. From the Covid-19 global pandemic to social justice issues relating to the climate crisis, decision makers are under increasing pressure to respond quickly and effectively to challenges whilst proactively mitigating against the consequences.
This is where digitization and digital innovation enter the scene.
Digitalization and digital innovation are transforming the current landscape of sustainability and climate action, and have the potential to create even more change in the coming years. Meaning the integration of digital technologies into everyday life to change the way all of us interact and live, digitalization should work hand in hand with sustainability and be leveraged in multiple sectors.
What does this mean in practice? An increase in data facilitates increased precision for reporting and monitoring our current situation, and accurately predicting future trajectories so leaders can make more informed decisions at the local level. Digital innovation can also encourage behavior change via micro-rewards enabled through Blockchain technology. In addition, collecting data from communities through a bottom-up approach enhances the citizen-science interface and provides valuable information that reflects the real time functioning of a city.
Against this backdrop, Pourya Salehi presents the impacts of digital innovation on the domain of finance. We have entered an era of exciting new funding mechanisms, which is a catalyst for mobilizing other essential resources needed for climate action. As said by the UN Secretary General, “digital technologies which are revolutionizing financial markets can be a game changer in reaching our shared objectives”. Pourya’s presentation explores citizen-centric financial systems and examines the benefits this has for both community members and local governments.Speaker:
As the Senior Research Officer at ICLEI World Secretariat, Pourya has an educational background in urban planning and management, land management, Blockchain technology, and finance, along with a decade worth of experience in sustainable development gained from working at consultancies in addition to research institutes. Pourya was the lead of the organization in the development of ICLEI's Global Research Strategy in 2019; a strategic document that guides the organization’s research and innovation activities including project acquisition, while building partnerships with leading research and innovation partners across the globe. From this, Pourya has been leading the execution of the Global Research Strategy and coordinating it across ICLEI’s 20+ international offices.
In addition to managing, coordinating, and overseeing several research and innovation projects over the past years, Pourya is also an accomplished author on various knowledge products including a number of peer-reviewed publications on a wide range of topics. This experience has been instrumental in Pourya becoming one of the founding members of the Global Covenant of Mayors' Research & Innovation Technical Working Group (GCoM’s R+I TWG), in addition to other research and innovation related spaces such as the Scientific Steering Committee for UNCCD’s Global Land Outlook (GLO) 2.0, and a member of Partners' Network Organizing Committee for the renowned Innovate4Cities Conference which was co-organized by UN-Habitat and GCoM and co-sponsored by the IPCC to build on the 2018 Edmonton Cities and Climate Change Science Conference and the resulting Global Research and Action Agenda (GRAA). He is also one of the co-authors of the Updated Global Research and Action Agenda for Cities on Cities and Climate Change Science. More recently, the Strategic Advisory Committee of the Global Covenant of Mayors appointed Pourya as the Global Co-Chair of GCoM's Research & Innovation Technical Working Group which, along with other responsibilities, guides and oversees the implementation of GCoM's Innovate4Cities initiative.
National climate policy after the 2022 Australian national election: What might we expect?Australian-German Climate & Energy CollegeTuesday, 1 March 2022 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Australia has long been a climate policy laggard among developed countries. The Morrison Coalition Government has done nothing to improve this record, as highlighted by its performance at the Glasgow COP in 2021. Indeed during the period from 2014 through to the present – under successive Coalition governments (Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison) – national climate policy has been marked first by climate policy reversals and then inaction both in terms of proclaimed ambition and policy. Meanwhile, since its loss in 2019, Labor has remained quiet on this contentious issue. And yet, paradoxically, during this period, Australia’s greenhouse emissions have continued to drop.
Australians will go to the polls in May this year. This seminar will speculate about the possible role of climate policy in the 2022 national election campaign, and will consider possible climate policy scenarios – in the context of the ‘performance paradox’ – for the period which follows.
This event has been organised with the financial support of the European Union’s Partnership Instrument. The opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.Speaker:
Robyn Eckersley is Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor in Political Science at the University of Melbourne and a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. She has published widely in the fields of environmental political theory, politics and the state; ecology and democracy; international relations; and global environmental governance, with a special focus on the ethics, politics and governance of climate change. Her recent books include Special Responsibilities: Global Problems and American Power (2012, co-author); Globalization and the Environment (2013) (co-authored with P. Christoff) and The Oxford Handbook of International Political Theory (2018) (co-edited with C. Brown.
Peter Christoff is a Senior Research Fellow with the Melbourne Climate Futures Initiative, and an honorary Associate Professor in the School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, at the University of Melbourne. His research and publications focus on Australian and international environmental and climate politics and policy. In addition he has served on various climate-related policy bodies, including the Victorian Premier's Climate Change Reference Group the Victorian Ministerial Reference Council on Climate Change Adaptation, and was also the Assistant Commissioner for the Environment in Victoria.
EU-Australia Knowledge Network: Wrap-Up EventsAustralian-German Climate & Energy CollegeTuesday, 22 February 2022 - 5:30pm to Thursday, 24 February 2022 - 7:00pm
Join us for a series of wrap-up events for the EU-Australia Knowledge Network.
Wrap-up Day 1: Highlights of the EU-Australia Knowledge Network and a summary of the ‘Buildings and Energy Efficiency’ project
Tuesday 22 February 2022, 5:30pm-7:00pm AEDT
Following an introduction in the SPIPA program, we will present highlights from the Network’s seminars and activities.
Alan Pears and Rosalinda Bustamante will then present a summary of their research on Buildings and Appliances Energy Efficiency in Australia and the EU, including comparisons of the governance and regulatory frameworks between Australia and the EU, linkages with just transitions and circular economies, and areas for potential collaboration between the EU and Australia.
Wrap-up Day 2: The Regional Energy Transition and Launch of the EU-AU Energy Affordability Report
Wednesday 23 February 2022, 5:30pm-7:00pm AEDT
Our first presentation will be from Dr Amanda Cahill (CEO of The Next Economy) discussing the similarities and differences between fossil-fuel reliant communities in Australia and the EU, and lessons learned in facilitating a just transition for these communities.
After Amanda’s presentation, Johanna Cludius, David Ritter and Viktoria Noka from Öko-Institut and Dr Sangeetha Chandra-Shekeran from the University of Melbourne will launch their report ‘Energy Affordability: Sharing Lessons from the EU and Australia’s Low Carbon Transitions’. This will cover both a comparison of electricity prices between Australia and the EU, and different models of hardship protection for vulnerable groups between the two jurisdictions. This report is available here.
Wrap-up Day 3: Health co-benefits from climate action, lessons from the EU Taxonomy, and next steps for the EU-Australia Knowledge Network
Thursday 24 February 2022, 5:30pm-7:00pm AEDT
This event will include two research presentations. First, Belle Workman will present research on the health co-benefits that arise from actions to mitigate climate change; then Angela Bruckner will present lessons that can be learned from the development and implementation of the EU Taxonomy, towards the development of an Australian Taxonomy.
Finally, this event will conclude with a discussion of the links between the EU-Australia Knowledge Network and other members of the Australian SPIPA network, the lessons of the SPIPA program, and next steps to continue the collaborative research relationships developed during this program.
This event has been organised with the financial support of the European Union’s Partnership Instrument. The opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.
Using an Improved Database of City-level Mitigation Actions to Drive Improved PracticeAustralian-German Climate & Energy CollegeTuesday, 15 February 2022 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Taking effective action on climate change is more urgent than ever, but cities across the world are still hamstrung by limitations on their ability to efficiently look to and learn from other cities. Although tens of thousands of cities across the globe are each implementing numerous actions to tackle this critical problem, extremely little information about these activities is available in easy-to-access formats leading most practitioners to preferentially seek information from their immediate neighbours rather than pursue any kind of systematic investigations. Furthermore, due to the lack of inter-compatibility in how activities are described and measured, it is extremely challenging to perform effective analysis and other forms of investigation on what cities are doing. Although there is some effort made to consolidate city-level activities (examples including the Data Portal for Cities and the CDP Open Data Portal) these repositories do not currently provide cities with effective ways to interrogate and understand the data to inform decision-making. We have observed that this lack of direct connection to practitioners leads to a lowering of perceived value and to inadequate or infrequent submission of further data.
This lack of sustained and robust data input from cities is an extremely critical issue with the research community as well. Poor documentation and standardization in city activity classification provides serious barriers to both learning from, and providing guidance, to municipal practitioners.
In response to this Ironbark, in conjunction with Innovate4Cities, developed a database which has been further expanded into a new tool called CityCAD. Both tools have been developed using a new approach to documenting city-level activities, with a specific focus on functionality and engagement for municipal practitioners and associated staff. This approach has been specifically developed based on the ways in which cities design their activities with the intention to connect directly into decision-making pathways. Through doing this, we have been able to identify numerous ways of providing ongoing value to practitioners as well as providing many benefits to researchers and other stakeholders.
This seminar will review the structure and function of CityCAD focusing on how it addresses current barriers to knowledge transfer. We will also explore some of the ancillary benefits it provides, and design principles for interfacing to city practitioners to facilitate improved practice in stakeholders with a range of technical and analytical capabilities.
This event has been organised with the financial support of the European Union’s Partnership Instrument. The opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.Speaker:
Matt is co-lead of the Innovations Unit - Climate Program for Ironbark Sustainability.
Matt has been at the forefront of innovation for carbon emissions mitigation at the local government level for over ten years. As Head of Research for the Moreland Energy Foundation, and among other innovative solutions he developed the fundamentals of their Zero Carbon Evolution program, a pioneering initiative that sought to dramatically ramp up community-scale programs. Since his time at Ironbark Sustainability he developed the data platform that created Snapshot Community Emissions Profile (www.snapshotclimate.com.au), which has become the primary tool for municipalities across Australia for preparing their emissions inventories and launching their programs into climate change mitigation. He developed the Science-Derived Target method that connects Australian municipalities to the National Determined Contribution (NDC), a method now recognized by the international organisation the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. He also has pioneered methods for determining the impacts of initiatives by local government in reducing emissions in their municipalities, centred on his Evidence-Based Action Planning framework. Most recently, he has developed the CityCAD database and has been working with a range of stakeholders to systematically empower improved practice.
Matt regularly presents to national audiences of city practitioners and other experts on best practice and innovative new methods. He has also sat on numerous working groups and expert panels assessing innovation and standards in the industry.
Evolution of the Global Research Action Agenda for Cities (GRAA)Australian-German Climate & Energy CollegeThursday, 17 February 2022 - 10:30am to 11:30am
The 2018 Cities and Climate Change Science conference initiated a process of engagement between urban policymakers, practitioners, researchers and other societal actors, to map and evaluate the state of research and progress on the intersection of cities and climate change, with an emphasis on research needs for increased action. The primary output of this conference was the Global Research and Action Agenda on Cities and Climate Change Science (GRAA)(World Climate Research Programme, 2019), which identified four cross cutting areas and six topical areas where research and knowledge were needed. Expanding the perspective from that seen at the conference to better include the city voice, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM) launched the Innovate4Cities (I4C) initiative, and associated City Research Agenda, to support action by cities as called for within the 2018 Cities and Climate Change Science conference’s GRAA.
The first Innovate4Cities conference (Innovate4Cities 2021) was held virtually in October 2021 by GCoM and UN-Habitat, and co-sponsored by the IPCC, once again bringing together a community from academia, the private sector, NGOs, local governments, national governments, city networks, youth, international organisations and other stakeholders engaged in addressing climate change in cities. This virtual conference allowed for presentations from around the world to take place across time zones over five days, which facilitated participation from a diversity of presenters and discussants from over 150 countries. In this presentation, Brenna and Cathy will discuss some of the initial insights on the GRAA, resulting from this recent I4C gathering.
- Global Research and Action Agenda on Cities and Climate Change Science: https://www.wcrp-climate.org/WCRP-publications/2019/GRAA-Cities-and-Climate-Change-Science-Full.pdf
- GCOM: https://www.globalcovenantofmayors.org/
- Innovate4Cities initiative: https://www.globalcovenantofmayors.org/research-innovation/
- 2018 City Research Agenda: https://www.globalcovenantofmayors.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/GCoM_Innovate4Cities-OPS_Booklet_8.5x11.pdf
- Announcement for Summary for Urban Policy Makers Initiatives: https://www.globalcovenantofmayors.org/press/new-summary-for-urban-policymakers-initiative-announced/
- Innovate4Cities Conference – Plenaries summary: https://unhabitat.org/relive-the-innovate4cities-climate-change-conference-plenaries-here
- The Future of our Cities is Indigenous – Maddison Miller, Pursuit: https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/the-future-of-our-cities-is-indigenous
- I4C Conference Student Writing Team – Report: https://sites.research.unimelb.edu.au/cities/projects/innovate4cities/studentwritingteam
Dr Brenna Walsh is a consultant on climate change and cities, and has been co-editor of the Innovate4Cities update to the Global Research and Action Agenda for the Innovate4Cities conference, supported by UN-Habitat. Brenna is supporting the Global Covenant of Mayors in updating the City Research Agenda. Brenna is also a project manager at the Surface Particulate Matter Network, working at the intersection of urban climate change and health. Previously, as a science officer at Future Earth International she coordinated work of the Scientific Steering Committee for the 2018 Cities and Climate Change Science conference, held in Edmonton, Canada after which she coordinated writing of the Global Research and Action Agenda on Cities and Climate Change Science.
Dr Cathy Oke is currently Melbourne Enterprise Principal Fellow in Informed Cities within the Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning and Associate Director (Enterprise and Impact) in the Melbourne Centre for Cities at the University of Melbourne. In this role, she is also Special Advisor Innovate4Cities at Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM). Cathy was previously the Knowledge Broker at the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes (CAUL) research hub, of the National Environmental Science Program, based at the University of Melbourne; and a Councillor at the City of Melbourne 2008 – 2020 (principally in the Environment Portfolio). Cathy has been a member of the ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability – World Secretariat’s Global Executive Committee since 2009, a leadership body which guides the network in advancing its global vision. She has been a critical member of the team advocating on behalf of cities at seven UN Conference of the Parties – UNFCCC (Copenhagen, Cancun, Paris, Bonn. Madrid and Glasgow) and Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD) (Cancun and Sharm el Sheik).
Achieving an Equitable and Sustainable Energy Transition: Social Data, Best Practices for Intergenerational Collaboration, and Supporting Youth-led ActionAustralian-German Climate & Energy CollegeThursday, 10 February 2022 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Diverse knowledge and perspectives play key roles in driving research and innovation on climate change action. Despite equitable participation and the value of city-based partnerships as key dimensions of local climate action, youth are an important but often excluded cohort in local climate action. As part of a partnership between Student Energy, Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM), and the Melbourne Centre for Cities at the University of Melbourne, a team of youth researchers representing eight global regions have been assembled as part of the GCoM Youth Policy Innovation Team to advance these imperatives for city and local climate action.
Drawing from the world’s first social dataset of youth perspectives gathered from Student Energy’s Global Youth Energy Outlook (GYEO), members of the policy innovation team have analysed and distilled these datasets into concrete recommendations for an inclusive, climate safe and energy transition. This seminar will provide insight into the key findings and elaborate on the identified pathways and perspectives for action: Youth Vision for the Future Energy System, Governance and Policy Innovation, Technological and Financial Innovation and Social Innovation.
- Global Covenant Of Mayors: https://www.globalcovenantofmayors.org/
- Melbourne Centre for Cities: https://sites.research.unimelb.edu.au/cities
- Global Youth Energy Outlook (including a recording of the Launch event at COP26): https://studentenergy.org/program/outlook/
- International Energy Agency, Recommendations of the Global Commission on People-Centred Clean Energy Transitions: https://www.iea.org/reports/recommendations-of-the-global-commission-on-people-centred-clean-energy-transitions
- The Student Energy 'Energy Topics Index': https://studentenergy.org/energy-education/topics/
- Jamaica Climate Change Youth Council: https://ourfootprintja.org/
- An article by GoodGoodGood on the role of youth councils in tackling climate change: https://www.goodgoodgood.co/articles/youth-council-climate-change
Paola studies Industrial Engineering at Universidad San Francisco Xavier (USFX) and is passionate about renewable energy, science, start-ups, and community projects. In 2015, Paola received a scholarship from the Embassy of the United States of America to participate in a Science and Innovation Summer Camp in La Jolla, California where Paola gained life-changing experience about renewable energy and its importance in our future. Since then, Paola has worked on many social projects in Bolivia and founded Magnífica Warmi with a group of friends, which is a project that works with Indigenous women on issues related to the environment and climate change.
In 2020, she was selected as the Latin America Regional Coordinator for the Global Youth Energy Outlook of Student Energy (the first report of its kind to share what young people from all the world want for their energy future in their countries and regions), in 2021 was selected to represent Bolivia in the Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition at Milan for Pre-COP where 400 young people from all over the world will meet to propose the construction of a more sustainable future and now she is part of the Global Support Team of the SDG7 Youth Constituency.
Alison Fong is a budding young planner passionate about connecting peoples, conversations and the built environment through an inclusive and sustainable creative focus. As a recent Master of Urban Planning Graduate from the University of Melbourne, Alison has continuously practiced these values whilst fostering diverse experience across government, private sector, academic and local community the lin planning and placemaking initiatives. Most recently, Alison was chosen to participate as part of the Global Covenant of Mayors’ Youth Policy Innovation Team, where she worked within a collaborative global youth team to extract youth policy insights on city-level climate action from Student Energy’s Global Youth Energy Outlook.
Alison has also been a keen advocate in shaping accessible places for all, where she was awarded 2nd place at the Climathon Melbourne Hackathon in 2017 with her team for an outstanding project to bring greater heat wave knowledge and environmental awareness to international students and was also awarded the annual SGS Economics Planning Graham Larcombe Award in 2020 for her demonstrated interest in equity and social disadvantage issues in urban development during her graduate studies.
Urban greening and climate changeAustralian-German Climate & Energy CollegeTuesday, 8 February 2022 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Australia’s population is highly urbanised and increasingly coastal. As climate change impacts increase, Australia’s urban population will be progressively more exposed to many of these impacts, including sea level rise, urban heat, more intense storms and rainfall events, bushfires and drought. These complex challenges and impacts require a wide suite of responses, in addition to the necessary climate change mitigation actions that cities must undertake. Urban greening can make a significant contribution to climate change action in cities, as well as contributing to a range of other valuable functions, benefits and services. For example, vegetation is one of the most effective means to address urban heat, therefore contributing to both adaptation and mitigation efforts (the latter through a reduced use of artificial cooling). There is increasing recognition of the interlinkages between addressing both climate change and biodiversity ‘emergencies’. This seminar explores urban greening implementation and policy approaches, before highlighting current research examining the integration of climate change action across the built environment.
Judy's sources for this presentation include:
Speaker:University of Melbourne
- Bush, J. 2020. The role of local government greening policies in the transition towards nature-based cities. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 35, 35-44. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eist.2020.01.015
- Bush, J., Ashley, G., Foster, B. & Hall, G. 2021. Integrating green infrastructure into urban planning: developing Melbourne’s Green Factor Tool. Urban Planning, 6. https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v6i1.3515
- Bush, J. & Doyon, A. 2019. Building urban resilience with nature-based solutions: how can urban planning contribute? Cities, 95, 102483. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2019.102483
- Hürlimann, A. C., Warren-Myers, G., Nielsen, J., Moosavi, S., Bush, J. & March, A. 2021. Towards the transformation of cities: a built environment process map to identify the role of key sectors and actors in producing the built environment across life stages. Cities, 103454. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2021.103454
- Parris, K. M., Barrett, B. S., Stanley, H. M. & Hurley, J. (eds.) 2020. Cities for people and nature, Melbourne: Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub. https://nespurban.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Cities-for-People-and-Nature.pdf
Dr Judy Bush is a lecturer in urban planning in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning. She is a member of the research team on the ARC Discovery Grant DP200101378 ‘Integrating climate change mitigation and adaptation in built environments’. Her research focuses on urban environmental policy and governance, including governance and policy approaches for nature-based solutions, biodiversity, urban ecology and climate change perspectives.
Web tools and Projects we developed
The live tracker of the Australian electricity market.
This website is based on a Nature Climate Change study that compares Nationally Determined Contributions with equitable national emissions trajectories in line with the five categories of equity outlined by the IPCC.
Run one of the most popular reduced-complexity climate carbon cycle models online. Used by IPCC, UNEP GAP reports and numerous scientific publications.
Check out our analysis of all the post-2020 targets that countries announced under the Paris Agreement.