Congratulations to the South Australia Government for their inaugural Industry Climate Change Conference, which was held at the Adelaide Convention Centre on the 20 & 21 April.

Of the 890 people, our industry had 7 Carbon Warriors representing our industry, including 3 from Timberlink, Amy Ruediger from Ruediger Prefab, James Smith & Justin Lethborg from Pine Design, and of course myself.

We’ve always referred to our Carbon Warrior Merch as a discussion starter, and this was definitely the case during the conference.

I also learnt about the ‘Bro Code’ when it comes to men’s toilets, where men get in and out without talking, unlike us ladies. However, James learnt this wasn’t the case when wearing the Carbon Warrior tee and was shocked when asked in the loos what Carbon Warrior was!

I don’t know what impressed me more, the attendance of nearly 900 people, when they were hoping for 500, or the strong leadership and direction demonstrated by the array of politicians speaking at the conference.

The SA Premier the Hon. Peter Malinauskas MP, The Hon Chris Bowen MP, Federal Minister for Climate Change & Energy and the Hon Dr Susan Close MP, State Minister for Climate, Environment and Water all spoke with passion and conviction for creating a greener future.

It’s hard to believe, but the South Australian economy has grown by 31% in the past 20 years, and astonishingly they have reduced their emissions by a whopping 42%. This is mostly due to the fact that they have 70% renewable energy in the state, and by 2030, they expect they will reach 100% renewable energy, which is truly remarkable.

Much of the discussion was around renewable energy, and I have to admit, I was pretty disappointed at the lack of recognition timber plays in addressing our climate crisis. Even in the workshops focused on ‘Decarbonising the Construction Industry’, the focus was still on operational energy, rather than focusing the importance of using more timber in the built environment, which stores carbon for life.

Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty in attendance that understood the important role timber plays in reducing emissions and on day two we got to focus on this, putting forward ideas in the collaborative workshops. As the SA Government moves forward to decarbonising the construction industry, we truly hope they take on board the Carbon Warrior message and recognise the vital part renewable materials have in this process.

If there is any state that is going to help build a Green Steel plant, it’s South Australia as they have solid plans for a new desalination plant and hydrogen plant in the Spencer Gulf region, however, this is still years away.

In the meantime, the built environment generates nearly 40% of the world’s emissions, and if they SA Government is serious about reducing these emissions, then they need to look at introducing policies which recognise the role renewables play.

It truly drives me crazy when bureaucrats or government say they don’t like the idea of enforcing what products people use when building. As I said in one of the workshops, I call bullshit.

Homeowners are told they must put in solar, they must have water tanks, they must have windows facing north and the list goes on, so if you truly care about creating a greener future, why wouldn’t government enforce the use of renewables, such as timber, like European countries do.

Government’s must recognise that the biggest financial investment the average Aussie makes is their home, and by creating policies around the built environment that recognise the role renewables play in reducing emissions, the biggest environmental investment the average Aussie can make is also their home.

FTMA and our team of Carbon Warriors look forward to continuing to work with the SA Government and groups like the Adelaide Sustainable Building Network, as we continue to push for policy changes around the built environment.

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