Climate and Carbon Challenges

Tue, 2019-02-12 11:27 -- 104096
Thursday, April 11, 2019 - 17:30
Assoc Prof Malte Meinshausen, & Mr Tom Yankos
Engineers Australia, level 31, 600 Bourke Street Melbourne
Event Details: 

Climate and Carbon Challenges

This event will examine the opportunities and challenges for Australia and especially, the engineering profession, to reshape its industries and society to meet the global challenge of emissions reductions required to meet the safe climate goals set at the 2015 Paris climate conference and reviewed at COP24 2018 in Poland. The topic will be addressed from perspectives of
(a) latest scientific assessments on climate and emissions trends; and
(b) challenges for the engineering profession in responding to industry transformations necessitated by a carbon constrained future.

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The science basis for determining policy and engineering responses

Policy actions by government and contributions from the engineering profession need to be based on an understanding of the latest scientific assessments by the international climate science community. This presentation will address important aspects including:

  • the global carbon budget and Australia’s fair share in contributing to the global abatement effort
  • latest thinking on climate risk e.g as analyses by the IPCC 1.5 degree Warming Assessment
  • greater emission reduction ambition in light of COP 24 and recent scientific reviews such as the UNEP Emissions gap Report

A/Prof Malte Meinshausen is Co-Director of the Energy Transition Hub ( and was founding Director of the Climate & Energy College ( at The University of Melbourne. Before coming to Melbourne in 2011, he did research at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany. He holds a PhD in "Climate Science & Policy", a Diploma in "Environmental Sciences" from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and an MSc in "Environmental Change and Management" from the University of Oxford, UK. His research focuses on emission scenarios, carbon budgets, reduced complexity climate modelling ( and the Paris Agreement negotiations. He was the scientific adviser to the German Government from 2005 to 2016 in the UNFCCC negotiations. 

How should society generally and the engineering profession in particular, respond?

Policy responses by government has been a fraught issue over the last decade. The engineering profession has a key role in developing technical solutions to support both international obligations and to enable the transformations demanded by a carbon constrained future. This presentation will look at:

  • What policy tools and regulations are required to support an orderly, cost efficient  transition to net zero carbon emissions across all sectors Australia by 2050.
  • How adequate are our current collective government sectoral settings towards achieving a net zero 2050 CO2e target?
  • What typical specific strategies and adjustments will be required across different key CO2e emissions sectors within Australia, particularly in Engineering related sectors. (transport, built infrastructure, industrial processes, mining, energy).

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Tom Yankos plays a central role in providing research and analysis for a range of ClimateWorks’ projects. Since joining ClimateWorks Australia in late 2014, Tom has undertaken analysis for a range of projects, including the quantitation of the potential emissions reduction contribution from Sustainability Victoria’s TAKE2 pledge program, state-based economy-wide emissions projections and potential impacts of switching from gas to electric appliances on the electricity grid (in collaboration with CSIRO).
He also completed analysis for the ‘Energy Productivity Index for Companies’ project and contributed to the development of ClimateWorks’ ‘2050 Pathways Calculator’, an online tool which allows users to explore scenarios leading to deep decarbonisation by mid-century. During a secondment to CSIRO, Tom helped prepare the 'Low Emissions Technology Roadmap' report which highlights areas of potential growth in Australia's clean technology sector, contributing ClimateWorks' perspective and expertise.

Prior to joining ClimateWorks, Tom provided data analysis and modelling activities for energy efficiency and cost reduction for the Toyota Motor Corporation Australia. He also has experience in advanced simulation and computational methods.
Tom holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering (First Class Honours) and a Bachelor of Business (Distinction) from RMIT University.

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