Iron ore mining magnate Andrew Forrest believes Anthony Albanese will adopt much stricter climate change policies than he did in his campaign to win office.
Australia’s richest billionaire, widely known as ‘Twiggy’, made the comments to Bloomberg Television while attending the annual gathering of the world’s elite hosted by the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski town of Davos.
“Our (Australia’s) climate policy has been frankly disgraceful,” Forrest said.
Mining magnate Andrew Forrest (centre), seen here at a press conference flanked by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (left) and Deputy Premier Steven Miles (right), predicts the federal Labor Party will introduce strong change policies climate now in power.
‘I think the new government will pivot to make Australia a global climate champion, which it should have been years and years ago.
‘Their campaign to get elected was a really small goal, but now that they are actually in government, and quite decisively, I think they will be much more ambitious.
“And so it should be, because compared to the rest of the world, Australia has fallen behind.”
Andrew Forrest (right) talks to a worker at a Queensland plant his company Fortescue Metals is partnering with to develop hydrogen as an example of green energy.
Forrest, 60, said he would like to see Australia aim for a 50 to 60 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, a step forward from Labor’s stated goal of reducing emissions by 43 percent. percent.
He promised that his company, Fortescue Metals Group, would lead the way in the iron ore sector and other major companies such as Rio Tinto and BHP were keen to follow suit.
“As a company, we aim to be down 100 per cent by 2030,” Mr Forrest said.
Forrest said he had taken on the role of chief executive to ensure Fortescue is green, with a particular focus on developing new forms of energy such as green hydrogen.
“Green steel, green iron, green fertilizers, green cement, is to set an example for the enormous commercial and industrial company, highly profitable and increasingly profitable because we become ecological,” he stated.
A Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen vehicle is filled with hydrogen, an energy source that Andrew Forrest has strongly supported as a way to reduce Australia’s dependence on fossil fuels and reduce emissions.
Mr Forrest was particularly scathing about what he called “greenwashing” – the practice of making false or exaggerated claims to be environmentally friendly.
He calls for an end to “garbage, people who spend fortunes on advertising when in reality all they do is pollute more and more.”
“When you hear the word clean, you can be sure it’s greenwashing,” Mr Forrest said.
‘You’ve heard about clean coal, you’ve heard about cancer-free tobacco, be very tough on greenwashing.
“Greenwashing is our biggest risk because many companies say one thing to shareholders and the public does precisely another for their own profits and losses.”
Andrew Forrest’s fortune is estimated at $27 billion, mostly from iron ore mining, a sector he believes his company Fortescue is leading the way in becoming more climate-friendly.
Although he did not name any particular “greenwashers” in the interview, Mr Forrest’s previous claims that Australia’s oil and gas industry is greenwashing have received heavy criticism.
State Gas chief executive Richard Cottee, a leading figure in Queensland’s coal seam gas industry, told The Australian newspaper that Mr Forrest needed to back up his allegation with facts because otherwise it would be like being a school bully
In pushing green hydrogen last year, Forrest himself was accused of greenwashing.
“The use case for hydrogen for personal gain is being overstated, even at the cost of worse emissions and an underestimation of alternatives,” said climate analyst Ketan Joshi.
“There is also infrastructure being built for the use of fossil fuels, which is really bad.”
Forrest, who is Fortescue’s largest shareholder as well as the company’s executive chairman and president, has amassed a net worth of approximately $27.25 billion, according to the Australian Financial Review’s Rich List from last year.