World Hydropower Congress: Tony Blair and Malcolm Turnbull in conversation
Climate Change, Renewable Energy and Sustainable Hydropower: Closing the Gap between Rhetoric and Action
09:00 BST on 7 September 2021
This special event on the opening day of the World Hydropower Congress brought together two former Prime Ministers, both of whom played a pivotal role in putting climate change high on the national and global political agenda.
Tony Blair is Executive Chairman of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. As Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1997-2007), he stressed the need for coordinated international action and pledged an unprecedented reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. His government was one of the first to sign the landmark Kyoto Protocol under which industrialised nations first committed to cut their emissions.
Malcolm Turnbull is Co-Chair of the International Forum on Pumped Storage Hydropower. As Prime Minister of Australia (2015-2018), he spearheaded efforts to expand renewable energy generation and storage capacity. He quickly recognised the urgent need for large-scale hydropower to support intermittent renewables like solar and wind power, and initiated the Snowy Hydro 2.0 pumped hydro scheme, the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.
This was opportunity to hear from two leading global thinkers about the commitments required to make November’s COP26 summit truly historic. What complex trade-offs do leaders face when making decisions about energy policy? How can governments scale up renewable energy in a sustainable and responsible way? Why is sustainable hydropower so important to achieving net zero emissions and avoiding the risk of future widespread blackouts? How can net zero be achieved without a compromise to continued global growth, especially for Low and middle income countries?