Join political, economic and renewables experts

We have assembled an amazing lineup of high-profile, globally significant speakers, and complemented their knowledge and expertise with eminent Australians, leaders in Australia’s renewable energy industry and architects of major renewable energy infrastructure and export projects.


This summit is supported by the Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation and Powered by Zoom.

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Malcolm Turnbull, 29th Prime Minister of Australia & author

Hon Malcolm Turnbull

29th Prime Minister of Australia & author

Malcolm Turnbull has a deep interest in energy issues and renewable energy. As Australia’s 29th Prime Minister (2015-18), he recognised the urgent need for large scale storage to make intermittent renewables reliable and started the construction of the Snowy Hydro 2.0 pumped hydro scheme, which will be the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. He also identified the opportunity for similar pumped storage systems in Tasmania.
During his Prime Ministership, Malcolm also reformed Australia’s personal income tax, education and childcare systems and oversaw the legalisation of same sex marriage.
He entered the Australian Parliament in 2004 and during that time also served as Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, and Minister for Communications.
Prior to entering politics, Malcolm enjoyed successful careers as an investment banker, lawyer and journalist.
As a lawyer, Malcolm successfully defended former MI5 agent Peter Wright against the British Government in the “Spycatcher” trial before entering business, where he enjoyed a successful career with Goldman Sachs and launched multiple technology-based businesses in Australia.
Since leaving politics, Malcolm has resumed his business career including as a senior adviser at KKR, and speaks regularly at global conferences. He recently launched his autobriography titled "A bigger picture'.
Malcolm is married to Lucy, the former Lord Mayor of Sydney and current Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission. He has two children, Alex and Daisy, and four grandchildren – Jack, Isla, Alice and Ronan.

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Frank Banimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji & COP23 President

Frank Bainimarama

Prime Minister of Fiji  |  COP23 President

Fiji's elected prime minister Frank Bainimarama has become a prominent climate change advocate on the global stage: Fiji was the first country to ratify the Paris Agreement, and held the prestigious position of President of COP23* the  global climate summit held in in Bonn, Germany in 2017.

See news article 'Frank Bainimarama reminds the world that climate change is a reality' here.

*COP23 denotes the 23rd annual Conference of the Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Mike Cannon-Brookes, Co-CEO & Co-Founder, Atlassian

Mike Cannon-Brookes

Co-CEO & Co-Founder | Atlassian |

Mike Cannon-Brookes is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Atlassian, a collaboration software company that helps teams organise, discuss and complete shared work. More than $160,000 large and small organisations across the world, including companies like Spotify, NASA, Mercy Ships, Sotheby's and Visa use Atlassian’s collaboration products to help their teams work better together.

Mike was the youngest person ever to be awarded the ‘Australian Entrepreneur of the Year’ in 2006 by Ernst & Young alongside Co-Founder and Co-CEO Scott Farquhar. In 2016 they were awarded Australian Financial Review's 'Australian Business Person of the Year' and in 2017 Forbes named them on their ‘Global Game Changers’ list. Mike was recognised by the World Economic Forum as a ‘Young Global Leader’ in 2009.

Outside Atlassian, Mike is a technology investor in the areas of software, fintech, agriculture and energy and sits on the board of Zoox. He also cares deeply about giving back and sits on the board of Room to Read.  A passionate clean energy evangelist, Mike was a driving force behind Australia getting the world's biggest lithium ion battery and the "Fair Dinkum Power" movement.

He serves as an adjunct professor at the University of New South Wales' School of Computer Science and Engineering and holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Information Technology from the University of New South Wales, Australia.

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Alex Hewitt, Founder & Director, CWP Renewables

Alex Hewitt

Founder & Director  |  CWP Renewables  |

Alex is a founding partner of CWP. He has developed over 3,000MW of wind energy projects in Europe and Australia since 2003.

His involvement covers all stages of project development including screening, land leasing, grid negotiations, permitting, gathering wind data, procurement of turbines and construction.

During the last 20 years, Alex has been engaged solely in the development, financing and management of infrastructure projects and the acquisition and management of utility companies. Prior to CWP he worked with United Utilities and Bechtel Enterprises, developing BOT and concession projects in the water and wastewater sectors.

Cristina Talacko, Chair, Coalition for Conservation

Cristina Talacko

Chair | Coalition for Conservation  |

Cristina has more than 15 years of experience in executive boards and management of not-for-profit associations.

She is a director on the Advisory Board of Multicultural NSW, Vice President of the Australia-Brazil Chamber of Commerce, director of Beyond Zero Emissions, member of the Advisory Committee of Endeavour Energy, former Vice Chair of the Australia Latin America Business Council (ALABC) and former Board director of the DFAT Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR).

She is an active member of the Liberal Party as Vice President of NSW Women’s Council and Secretary of the NSW Energy and Environment Policy Branch. Cristina is an entrepreneur having founded SalDoce Fine Foods, manufacturing allergen sensitive foods to Australia and export markets and was the winner of the NSW Export Awards in 2016 and 2018 and the 2019 NSW Small Business Award.

She is a co-owner of the organic foods retail chain Naked Foods. Cristina is on the board of the charitable organisation One Meal, is a benefactor of the Art Gallery of NSW and has recently completed the Executive Program Women & Power at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

She is passionate about the environment, female empowerment and diversity and has a corporate legal background having graduated with an LLB - Bachelor of Law from the University of London and a Graduate Diploma on Corporate Law and Governance from the University of Sydney.

Dr Jemma Green, Executive Chairman & Co-founder, Power Ledger

Dr Jemma Green

Executive Chairman & Co-founder  |  Power Ledger  |

After completing a degree in finance, Jemma started her career in banking at J.P. Morgan in London. While there, she saw the dilemmas and problems that came with bringing corporate social responsibility to the business world. Determined to find a way to fix what she felt was a broken system, Green decided to pursue a doctorate at Curtin University. She was awarded her PhD in 2015 and proceeded to start her own business, a blockchain powered peer to peer energy and carbon credit trading platform called Power Ledger. The company is going from strength to strength and has projects in the US, Japan, Europe, Thailand and Australia. Jemma helped set up Australia’s first fossil fuel free superannuation fund and has sat on numerous boards championing sustainable business. In 2017, she received the EY Fintech Entrepreneur of the Year award. She lives in Perth and invents Italian style dishes for relaxation.

Simon Holmes à Court,Senior Advisor, Energy Transition Hub, Melbourne University

Simon Holmes à Court

Senior Advisor |  Energy Transition Hub, Melbourne University  |

Simon Holmes à Court is one of Australia’s leading energy commentators and analysts. He is a senior advisor to the Climate and Energy College at the Energy Transition Hub at Melbourne University - a joint project between ANU, Melbourne, a number of academics around Australia and three major German universities. Simon was also the founding Director of Hepburn Wind and Embark.

Simon writes regularly for the Guardian and Renew Economy and has appeared on ABC’s The Drum and The Business — and is also fairly prolific on twitter.

Follow Simon on Twitter: @simonahac.

Simon is passionate about Australia’s energy transition — the shift from coal-dominated to renewables-dominated generation — and passionate about breaking down barriers, especially misinformation.

"I have enjoyed watching the Smart Energy Council purposefully and confidently engage in the national conversation around energy and it is a privilege to serve as a director of this most important player in the transformation of Australian energy sector."

Dr Zhengrong Shi, Founder Suntech and SunMan

Dr Zhengrong Shi

Founder | SunMan Co Ltd |

Founder | Suntech Power

Dr Zhengrong Shi is a renowned Australian solar scientist and widely known as the Sun King. A fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering he has been named as one of “50 people who could save the planet” by The Guardian, and described by TIME as a ‘Hero of the Environment’, an annual list that celebrates the most innovative and influential protectors of the planet.  

Dr Shi is regarded as one of the world’s most successful clean energy entrepreneurs.  His passion for the environment and making solar energy affordable and available to all, has led him to invent 60 patents in photovoltaic technology over the last 30 years.
His company SunMan Co Ltd has spearheaded a new wave of solar products that enables the seamless integration of solar onto any surface. The company’s revolutionary eArche solar panel is glass-free, lightweight and flexible and is made out of polymer composite material.   This innovative product is 70% lighter than traditional solar panels and opens up new applications for solar energy, such as installation on lightweight rooftops, buildings facades, automobile mobile roofs and mobile power stations. It has been launched in Australia, Japan, China and Europe

In 1989 Dr Shi moved to Australia from China. There he became an Australian citizen, completed an engineering PhD at the University of New South Wales.  Soon after he had completed his degree, Dr Shri joined leading solar power researchers Professor Martin Green and Stuart Wenham, to form Pacific Solar, a private company set up to commercialise UNSW solar technologies.

In 2001 Dr Shi returned to China and founded Suntech Power which pioneered the growth of the global solar industry. Suntech was the first Chinese company listed on the New York Stock exchange in 2005 and by 2011 it was the world’s largest producer of solar panels.

Dr. Shi has received numerous awards through his career, including the 2019 Al-Attiyah International Energy Award, The International Photovoltaic Science and Engineering Conference Excellent Contribution Award in 2005, Zayed Future Energy Award in 2010, and the Murphy & Spitz Global Leader Award 2011 at the World Economic Forum. In 2009, he was on Business Week’s “China’s Most Powerful People” list.  He was awarded the “Annual Economic Figure” in 2006 and was honoured as the "Green Figure of the Year" in 2007 by China’s CCTV.

Dr Shi is strongly committed to a green and sustainable future.  In 2010 he installed Australia's largest-capacity rooftop solar panel array at the Sydney Theatre Company's historic Walsh Bay building and this year the Australia’s largest light weight solar panel system at the Australian National Maritime Museum’s Wharf 7 building in Pyrmont, Darling Harbour. 

Professor Martin A Green

Professor Martin A Green AM

Director | Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics, University of NSW (UNSW) |

Martin Green is a Scientia Professor at UNSW and Director of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics, also involving several other Australian Universities and CSIRO.

His group's contributions to photovoltaics are well known and include the record for silicon solar cell efficiency for 30 of the last 32 years, described a "Top Ten" Milestone in the history of solar photovoltaics.

Professor Green's studies concerning the fundamental limits that underlie the operation of silicon solar cells have helped to bring about a record-breaking improvement in cell performance, with an increase in output of 50 per cent over that attained at the beginning of his research.

Amongst his achievements the demonstration of the potential of third-generation photovoltaics; the general promotion of solar cell technology; and the commercialisation of several different cell technologies. He is also the author of a number of popular textbooks.

Professor Green has received many awards in recognition of his work, including the:

  • Pawsey Medal of the Australian Academy of Science in 1981;
  • Australia Prize for energy science and technology in 1999;
  • Right Livelihood Award (also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize) in 2002;
  • SolarWorld Einstein Award in 2007; and
  • co-winner of the Global Energy Prize in 2018.

In 2012, he was named an Officer of the Order of Australia.

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James Ellsmoor

James Ellsmoor

Director | Island Innovation |

Co-founder | Solar Head of State |

James Ellsmoor is the Director of Island Innovation, a consulting agency he founded not long after graduation while studying for a Masters in Island Studies. He has a passion for sustainable development and renewable energy, particularly applications for rural and isolated communities.

Last year he ran the inaugural Virtual Island Summit, which brought together 4,000 participants from Scotland to Samoa to share stories about their communities.

He also is the co-founder of Solar Head of State, a nonprofit working with island nations to install solar system on public buildings.

James has always used technology to advance his mission, allowing him to live and work anywhere and manage a team spread over 4 continents.

Island Innovation focuses on bringing together NGOs, the private sector, universities and government with projects covering topics such as lithium extraction, climate change and public policy.

Jamie Isbister

Jamie Isbister

Ambassador for the Environment Australia

First Assistant Secretary, Economic Growth and Sustainability Division | Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)

Jamie Isbister has worked for AusAID and, later, DFAT since January 2009. Jamie has over 20 years’ experience working in the humanitarian and development field.

Jamie was appointed Australia’s Ambassador for the Environment in November 2019.  He is responsible for promoting and protecting Australia’s national interests on global environmental issues, including through leading Australia’s negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. He is also the head of the Economic Growth and Sustainability Division in DFAT.

Prior to this he headed the DFAT’s Humanitarian, Non-Government Organisations and Partnerships Division for five years and was the Australian Government’s Humanitarian Coordinator. He has previously served overseas as Minister Counsellor Development for Africa based in Pretoria, and was Assistant Director General for the Africa and Middle East Branch of AusAID. 

Before joining government Jamie worked in a range of international policy and development positions with NGOs. He carried out the initial assessments of the impacts of the Asian Tsunami in Aceh for the Caritas International network. In the late 1990’s Jamie worked in the Asia Pacific region, primarily in Cambodia, Burma and Thailand on refugee policy and internally displaced persons issues.

Shigeru (Sam) Muraki

Shigeru (Sam) Muraki

Regional Vice Chair, Asia Pacific and South Asia | World Energy Council |

Representative Director | Green Ammonia Consortium |

Executive Adviser | Tokyo Gas |

Shigeru (Sam) Maraki joined Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. in 1972 after graduating from Applied Chemistry Department of the University of Tokyo. He was appointed chief representative in New York from 1989 to 1994. From 1996 through 2004, he worked at Gas Resources Dept. He was promoted to senior executive officer and CTO in 2004. In 2007, he moved to Energy Solution Division in charge of marketing in  commercial and industrial markets and power business. He was appointed Executive Vice President in 2010 and Vice Chairman in 2014. Since April 2015, he has been Executive Adviser for Tokyo Gas.

He was Program Director of Energy Carriers for SIP (Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program) from June 2014 to March 2019.

He has been Representative Director of the Green Ammonia Consortium since July 2019, and the Regional Vice Chair, Asia Pacific and South Asia, of the World Energy Council since May 2016.

In May 2017, Mr Muraki was awarded the Japanese Medal of Honor with Blue Ribbon - awarded to individuals who have made prosperous efforts in the areas of public welfare and education.

Dan Ilic

Dan Ilic

Investigative Humourist

Host | A Rational Fear (podcast)

‘Investigative Humourist’ Dan Ilic is one of Australia's most prolific comedy voices, known for his work across TV, film, radio and stage – both at home and abroad.

Host of the popular podcast and live comedy show A Rational Fear, Dan brings together industry leaders, journalists, comedians and politicians, to use comedy to explore big issues such as climate change, press freedom and the intersection of culture and the internet.

Starting his career on TV shows including The Ronnie Johns Half Hour (TEN), Hungry Beast (ABC) and Can of Worms (TEN), Dan has since touched on all areas of the Australian media. He has sold out shows at the Sydney Opera House, entertained with seasons on ABC Radio National, and performed stand-up under rocket fire in Kandahar.

As a journalist and TV producer, Dan covered the 2016 US presidential election while Executive Producer of Satire for Fusion/Gizmodo Media Group in the USA, and in 2015 was the senior satire producer of Al Jazeera’s youth publisher AJ+.

He landed back in Australia as the Executive Producer and Showrunner of the daily satirical TV show Tonightly with Tom Ballard (ABC), then more recently, At Home Alone Together (ABC), a coronavirus comedy lifestyle show.

Dan was recognised by the Obama Foundation in 2019 as an Obama Foundation Leader Asia Pacific for his work in satire and climate change activism, and he is currently a 2020 Bertha Fellow.

Upendra Tripathy

Upendra Tripathy

Director General  |  International Solar Alliance (ISA)  |

Mr Upendra Tripathy, former Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, has made exceptional and outstanding contribution towards achieving 175 GW target and for ushering in policies that transformed India’s renewable energy sector between 2014 and 2016. In ex-officio capacity, he has headed Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), National Institute of Solar Energy and National Institute of Wind Energy, National Institute of Bio Energy, Association of Renewable Energy Agencies of States (AREAS) and International Solar Alliance (ISA). Mr. Tripathy galvanised both the Ministry of Renewable Energy and the Solar Energy Corporation through a plethora of new and imaginative policy measures.

His institution building abilities and innovations got reflected in building of Hassan Kalamandir (1989), Center for infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning (CiSTUP) in Indian Institute of Science (2009), Environmental Management Policy Research Institute (EMPRI) (2003), Akshar Foundation (2001), turnaround of Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) (2003-2008) and institution of Nrupathunga Award in Karnataka (2008).

For these achievements, and for all his work in transforming a city Transport undertaking in Bangalore into a profit making one, the Prime Minister of India bestowed the PM’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration of Mr. Tripathy in 2009. Other awards that recognise his abilities, excellence and innovative thinking, are – Extra-Ordinary Citizens’ Award from Rotary International-2008, Central Board of Irrigation and Power (CBIP) Award 2016 for outstanding contribution to India’s Renewable Energy Sector, 10 th Enertia Life Time Achievement Award - 2016 and UBM 2016 as Crusader of the year for Renewable Energy.

What helps Mr Tripathy in being an outstanding administrator of great eminence is his 36 years of diverse experience in an across related sectors - land administration, rural development, agriculture, education, social inclusion, environment, petroleum and natural gas, and transportation. He has worked in federal, provincial sand local administrations in India.

Mr Tripathy currently heads International Solar Alliance as Director General.

Audrey Zibelman

Audrey Zibelman

Chief Execuitve Officer & Managing Director  |  Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)  |

Audrey oversees all of AEMO’s strategic, operations and administrative functions and responsibilities.

Audrey has more than 30 years’ international experience in the public, private and not-for profit energy sectors. Prior to joining AEMO in March 2017, her roles included Chair of the New York State Public Service Commission, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of system operator PJM, and executive roles with Xcel Energy, one of the United States’ largest integrated gas and electricity utilities.

In addition to her role as CEO of AEMO, Audrey also serves on the CSIRO Energy Advisory Committee, the Melbourne Energy Institute’s Advisory Board and the Board of the Melbourne Recital Centre.

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Mark Carney, UN Climate Envoy & Finance Adviser COP26

Mark Carney

UN Climate Envoy and Finance Adviser, COP26 |

Former Governor | Bank of England

Board of Trustees | World Economic Forum

Mark Carney received a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Harvard University in 1988. He went on to receive a master’s degree in Economics in 1993 and a doctorate in Economics in 1995, both from Oxford University.

After a thirteen-year career with Goldman Sachs in its London, Tokyo, New York and Toronto offices, Mark Carney was appointed Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada in August 2003. In November 2004, he left the Bank of Canada to become Senior Associate Deputy Minister of Finance. He held this position until his appointment as Governor of the Bank of Canada on 1 February 2008. Mark Carney served as Governor of the Bank of Canada and Chairman of its Board of Directors until 1 June 2013.

Mark Carney served as head of the Bank of England from 2013 – 2020. In addition to his duties with the bank, he served as First Vice-Chair of the European Systemic Risk Board, was a member of the Group of Thirty, and on the Board of Trustees of the World Economic Forum.

Dr John Hewson

Dr John Hewson AM

Former Leader of the Federal Opposition, Australia

Professor and Chair, Tax and Transfer Policy Institute, Crawford School  |  Australian National University (ANU)

Dr Hewson has had several careers in academia, bureaucracy, business, politics, and the media. He is currently a Professor in the Crawford School of Public Policy at ANU, and an Adjunct Professor at Curtin, UTS, Canberra and Griffith Universities, having been Professor and Head of the School of Economics at UNSW, and Professor of Management and Dean Macquarie Graduate School of Management at Macquarie University. He has worked for The Australian Treasury (Census and Statistics), the IMF, the Reserve Bank, the UN (UNESCAP), and the ADB, and often advises senior public servants.

In Business, he was a Founder of Macquarie Bank, Chairman ABN Amro Australia, and Chair/Director of a host of public and private companies, with current positions in insurance broking, renewable energy, and funds management and investment banking. He is Chair, Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia, Chair, BioEnergy Australia, and a Patron of the Smart Energy Council and the Ocean Nourishment Foundation. In Politics he has served as Advisor/Chief of Staff to two Federal Treasurers and Prime Minister, as Shadow Finance Minister, Shadow Treasurer, Shadow Minister for Industry and Commerce, and Leader of the Liberal Party, and of the Federal Coalition in Opposition. In the media, he has been a regular Columnist since the early 80s for a range of domestic and international newspapers (presently Nine Media and Fairfax Regionals) and publications, a Sky News Contributor, and comments widely on economics and politics on TV, radio, in print, and on line, here and overseas.

Dr Hewson has also been active in charities and not-for-profits, main positions currently, Chair of Osteoporosis Australia and KidsXpress, Investment Advisory Committee of the Australian Olympic Foundation, Northern Metropolitan Cemeteries Land Manager, and as Member, SteerCo Australian Sustainable Finance Roadmap, National Standing Committee for Energy and the Environment, and as an Ambassador Women for Election Australia.

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Annastacia Palaszczuk MP

Annastacia Palaszczuk MP (tbc)

Premier of Queensland
Member for Inala

Annastacia Palaszczuk was sworn in for a second term as Premier of Queensland on 12 December 2017 following the state election on 25 November.

Prior to the election, Annastacia had been Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Queensland Parliamentary Labor Party following the March 2012 state election.

She has represented the Inala electorate in the Queensland Parliament since September 2006.

Annastacia served as Chair of the Parliamentary Ethics Committee and following the 2009 election, she was appointed as the Minister for Disability Services and Multicultural Affairs.

She was appointed Minister for Transport in February 2011 and held the position up until the March 2012 election.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland, Master of Arts (Hons) from the University of London, Bachelor of Laws from the University of Queensland and a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from the Australian National University.

Annastacia was the recipient of a British Council Chevening Scholarship enabling her to study for a year in London at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and the London School of Economics.

She was born in Brisbane on 25 July 1969 and attended Jamboree Heights State School in Brisbane and St Mary’s Catholic College, Ipswich.

Before being elected to the Queensland Parliament she worked as a part-time sales assistant; a tutor with the Aboriginal and Island Students Service at the University of Queensland; tutor at the Australian National University; and as an adviser to federal and state MPs and Ministers.

Sam Kimmins

Sam Kimmins

Global Head of RE100, Climate Group |

Sam is Head of the RE100 with the Climate Group.  RE100 brings together the world's most influential companies committed to 100% renewable power. 

He has over 25 years’ experience leading sustainability projects in the shipping, aviation, food, and construction sectors.

Prior to joining RE100, Sam spearheaded Forum for the Future’s Sustainable Shipping Initiative, winner of the Guardian Sustainable Business Award.


The Climate Group drives ambitious action to create a net-zero emissions world

Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben

Author & Environmentalist | Founder, |

Bill McKibben is an author and environmentalist who in 2014 was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the ‘alternative Nobel.’ His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages; he’s gone on to write a dozen more books. He is a founder of, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement, which has organized twenty thousand rallies around the world in every country save North Korea, spearheaded the resistance to the Keystone Pipeline, and launched the fast-growing fossil fuel divestment movement.

The Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he was the 2013 winner of the Gandhi Prize and the Thomas Merton Prize, and holds honorary degrees from 18 colleges and universities. Foreign Policy named him to their inaugural list of the world’s 100 most important global thinkers, and the Boston Globe said he was “probably America’s most important environmentalist.”

A former staff writer for the New Yorker, he writes frequently for a wide variety of publications around the world, including the New York Review of BooksNational Geographic, and Rolling Stone. He lives in the mountains above Lake Champlain with his wife, the writer Sue Halpern, where he spends as much time as possible outdoors . In 2014, biologists honored him by naming a new species of woodland gnat— Megophthalmidia mckibbeni–in his honor.

John Grimes, CEO, Smart Energy Council

Mr John Grimes

Chief Executive Officer  |  Smart Energy Council

John Grimes was appointed as Chief Executive of the Australian Solar Council in 2008.

John started his career as an officer in the Air Force and went on to found and grow a number of companies, including a startup company he took to a successful listing on the ASX with a market capitalisation in excess of $30m.

His most recent company was in the environmental sector employing over 25 people with operations in Australia, the US and the Middle East.

In his role as CEO of the Smart Energy Council he has grown the profile and influence of the organisation.

John has a passion for the solar, storage and the smart energy industry. He is regularly called upon, by the media, to provide relevant and independent comment in these areas.

Danielle Wood, CEO, Grattan Institute

Danielle Wood

CEO, Grattan Institute

Danielle is the CEO of the Grattan Institute. She believes in the power of public policy to make Australia a better place.

Danielle has published extensively on economic reform priorities, budget policy, tax reform, generational inequality and reforming political institutions. She is a sought-after media commentator and speaker on policy issues.

Danielle previously worked at the ACCC, NERA Economic Consulting and the Productivity Commission. She holds an Honours degree in Economics from the University of Adelaide and Masters degrees in Economics and Competition Law, from the University of Melbourne.

Danielle is the National President of the Economic Society of Australia and co-founder and former Chair of the Women in Economics Network.

Prof Warwick J McKibbin AO,

Prof Warwick J. McKibbin AO

Vice Chancellor’s Chair in Public Policy  |  Australian National University (ANU)

Director  |  Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis (CAMA), Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU

Professor Warwick J. McKibbin, AO, FASSA is the Vice Chancellor’s Chair in Public Policy and is Director of the Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis (CAMA) in the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University (ANU). He is also Director of Policy Engagement and ANU Node Leader of the Australian Research Council, Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR).

Professor McKibbin is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences; a Distinguished Public Policy Fellow of the Economic Society of Australia; a Distinguished Fellow of the Asia and Pacific Policy Society; and a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C (where he is co-Director of the Climate and Energy Economics Project).

He was awarded the Order of Australia in 2016 “For Distinguished Service to Education as an Economist, Particularly in the Area of Global Climate Policy, and to Financial Institutions and International Organizations” and the Centenary medal in 2003 “For Service to Australian Society through Economic Policy and Tertiary Education”. 

Professor McKibbin is internationally renowned for his contributions to global economic modeling and the theory of monetary policy and economic modeling of pandemics. He has published more than 240 peer reviewed academic papers and 5 books as well as being a regular commentator in the popular press. He served on the Board of the Reserve Bank of Australia from 2001 to 2011 and worked at the Reserve Bank from 1975 to 1991. He regularly advises international institutions, Central Banks, governments and corporations across a range of developed and emerging economies.

COVID-19 expertise
Professor McKibbin is working with Roshen Fernando on modelling the impact of COVID-19 on the global economy with a focus on the individual economies in the G20 and particularly Australia. The core of this research is a global macroeconomic model with sectoral detail. The research integrates epidemiological scenarios at the global level with macroeconomic outcomes to provide policymakers real-time assessment of alternative policy strategies.

Jeffrey D Sachs, world-renowned economics professor & best-selling author

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Wold-renowned economics professor & Best-selling author  |

Jeffrey D. Sachs is a world-renowned economics professor, bestselling author, innovative educator, and global leader in sustainable development.

He is widely recognized for bold and effective strategies to address complex challenges including debt crises, hyperinflations, the transition from central planning to market economies, the control of AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, the escape from extreme poverty, and the battle against human-induced climate change.

Sachs serves as the Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, where he holds the rank of University Professor, the university’s highest academic rank. Sachs held the position of Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University from 2002 to 2016. He is President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a commissioner of the UN Broadband Commission for Development, and an SDG Advocate for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. From 2001-18, Sachs served as Special Advisor to UN Secretaries-General Kofi Annan (2001-7), Ban Ki-moon (2008-16), and António Guterres (2017-18). 

Sachs has authored and edited numerous books, including three New York Times bestsellers: The End of Poverty (2005), Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet (2008), and The Price of Civilization (2011).  Other books include To Move the World: JFK’s Quest for Peace (2013), The Age of Sustainable Development (2015), Building the New American Economy: Smart, Fair & Sustainable (2017),  A New Foreign Policy: Beyond American Exceptionalism (2018), and most recently, The Ages of Globalization: Geography, Technology, and Institutions (2020).

Sachs was the co-recipient of the 2015 Blue Planet Prize, the leading global prize for environmental leadership. He was twice named among Time magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders and has received 32 honorary doctorate degrees. The New York Times called Sachs “probably the most important economist in the world,” and Time magazine called Sachs “the world’s best-known economist.” A survey by The Economist ranked Sachs as among the three most influential living economists.

Prior to joining Columbia, Sachs spent over twenty years as a professor at Harvard University, most recently as the Galen L. Stone Professor of International Trade. A native of Detroit, Michigan, Sachs received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees at Harvard.

Photo credit: Gabriella C Marino, 2019

Emma Herd, Chief Executive Officer, Investor Group on Climate Change

Emma Herd

Chief Executive Officer | Investor Group on Climate Change |

Emma Herd has been Chief Executive Officer at the Investor Group on Climate Change since August 2015. Emma has worked in climate change, sustainability, public policy and finance for almost twenty years.

Prior to IGCC, Emma spent 15 years at Westpac Banking Corporation where she worked at the vanguard of climate change and finance. She held a range of roles across carbon finance and emissions trading, ESG Risk assessment, public policy and advocacy, sustainability strategy development and corporate affairs across Westpac Institutional Bank and Westpac Banking Corporation. She started her career working in Parliamentary Committees (Senate and House of Representatives) in Parliament House, Canberra.

Emma is a Non-Executive Director of the Carbon Market Institute and a member of the Queensland Climate Change Advisory Council. Emma is a member of the Steering Committee of the Australian Sustainable Finance Initiative and the New Zealand Sustainable Finance Forum. She holds a Bachelor of Asian Studies (Thai) Hons.

Walburga Hemetsberger

Walburga Hemetsberger

CEO | SolarPower Europe

Walburga Hemetsberger's previous experience includes her roles as Head of the EU Representation Office at VERBUND for nine years; Advisor of Financial and Capital Markets at The Association of German Public Banks and Association of Public Banks (VÖB /EAPB); Competition lawyer at Haarmann Hemmelrath; A Parliamentary Assistant to Austrian MEP and experience in the DG Competition Merger Control Task Force. Walburga has also been a Board Member of Hydrogen Europe.

Pilita Clark, Associate Editor, Financial Times

Pilita Clark

Associate Editor | Financial Times

Pilita Clark is an associate editor at the Financial Times where she writes a weekly column on business life. 

Formerly the FT’s environment correspondent, her reporting on climate change has been widely recognised. She  was named Environment Journalist of the Year for the third year in a row at the 2018 British Press Awards.

She was previously a political correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald in Washington DC and Canberra.

Tim Reed, President, Business Council of Australia

Tim Reed

President | Business Council of Australia

Tim is President of the Business Council of Australia, a role he assumed in 2019 having sat on the BCA Board since 2017; and joint Managing Director of Potentia Capital, an Australian private equity fund focused on investing in and growing local software businesses.

Prior to assuming these roles, Tim spent 12 years as CEO of MYOB - a leading provider of online accounting, payroll and tax solutions to SMEs and their advisers. During Tim’s tenure MYOB was regularly named as one of Australia’s most innovative companies, was awarded the prestigious Canstar award for a best in category product, doubled team engagement, saw subscribers grow eightfold and enterprise value sixfold.

In earlier years Tim’s career has spanned the markets of Asia, Europe and the USA, including eight years in the fast-paced, technology market of Silicon Valley. During this time Tim was a Founding Member of the Internet Advertising Bureau where, along with other internet pioneers, he wrote the first set of advertising measurement standards for the web.

Tim is passionate about technology and its ability to improve the lives and livelihoods of all people.

For many years he has been an advocate for good public policy, long-term thinking and the role of women in society.

Tim received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School where he graduated as a Baker Scholar and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Melbourne where he graduated with first class honours in economics.

Craig Bell

Craig Bell

Chief Executive Officer | Foresters Financial

Craig is the Chief Executive Officer of Foresters Financial, one of Australia’s largest member-owned friendly societies. He is also an Executive Member of the industry body, Friendly Societies of Australia. He has been a Board member of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation (LMCF) since 2014 and Board Chair since 2019.  During his time at LMCF, Craig has also chaired the Environment & Sustainability Grants Advisory Panel and the Governance, Audit & Risk Committee.  
He has over 30 years’ experience in Finance and ICT, having held senior positions across a number of sectors; including roles in top tier investment firms in London at Lloyds Bank TSB, Salomon Smith Barney and J.P. Morgan, and in Melbourne at ANZ and Legg Mason.  He has also held various financial roles in the Victorian and South Australian State Governments.
He is a Fellow of CPA Australia, a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Flinders University.”

Blair Palese, Global Climate Advisor, Climate & Capital Media

Blair Palese

Global Climate Advisor  |  Climate & Capital Media  |

Blair Palese is a writer and project manager on a range of climate change projects. In 2009, she cofounded Australia and was its CEO for 10 years.

Previously, she was a communications director for Greenpeace International and Greenpeace USA, head of international public relations for the Body Shop, editor-in-chief of Greenpages magazine, and worked at Washington Monthly and ABC.

Climate & Capital Media is a global media company that connects investors and entrepreneurs working on climate change solutions. Our global news service develops engaging, well-reported profiles that deliver practical and meaningful investment and leadership insights about the fast-growing community of businesses addressing global warming and building a more sustainable global economy. We focus not simply on climate-related businesses and technology, but on public policy and accountability, with a particular interest in the emerging generation of entrepreneurial leaders who will shape tomorrow’s global agenda. This is combined with an actionable business directory of the who’s who of the companies, entrepreneurs, and investors working on global warming solutions.

Climate & Capital Media is based in New York with contributors in Australia, India, the UK, Europe and Asia.

Osher Günsberg, Television Presenter

Osher Günsberg

Television Presenter

Osher Günsberg is a passionate advocate for climate action, from regularly profiling activists and entrepreneurs in the climate space on his podcast, to his breakthrough appearance on Q&A's panel on Climate Solutions.

Osher Günsberg is one of Australia’s most recognisable media personalities and has been a guest in the living rooms of Australian’s for nearly 2 decades.

From his work on Channel [V] in the early 2000’s to seven seasons on Australian Idol, Osher was the first Australian to host live network prime time TV in the USA on Live To Dance (CBS). Currently, Osher hosts three formats within The Bachelorfranchise – The Bachelor Australia, The Bachelorette Australia and Bachelor in Paradise, and is the narrator of Bondi Rescue (all Network 10). This year saw Osher’s return to live TV where he hosted season 1 of the smash-hitshow, The Masked Singer Australia (Network 10).

The release of his memoir, Back, After the Break (HarperCollins Australia) became an instant best-seller and detailed Osher’s powerful, dark, funny and heart wrenching story about life, love and living with mental illness. It was nominated for a 2019 ABIA for Best Biography Book of the Year and a LIVE show of the same name was produced and toured Australia, selling out nationally.

Osher’s roots in media began in radio in 1994 at Brisbane’s B105 on the overnight shift. He rapidly moved to a national audience with Take 40 Australia and The Hot Hits Live from LA, and years later returned to radio to co-host Hit105’s Stav, Abby & Matt with Osher breakfast show for Southern Cross Austereo, and Osher’s Love Line nationally on the HIT Network.

An early adopter of independent digital broadcasting, Osher has written, produced and hosted several podcasts. His interview podcast Better than Yesterday with The Osher Günsberg (previously The Osher Günsberg Podcast) has been published weekly since 2013 and has over 4.3 million downloads. The show now releases two episodes per week, was a finalist in the 2018 Australian Podcast Awards (Storytelling category) and selected episodes are available on Qantas Inflight Entertainment. In 2017 Osher hosted Tall Tales & True series 3 (ABC podcast) and Love Life with Leanne Hall (Mamamia network). In late 2019 Osher teamed up with Charlie Clausen to create DadPod, a weekly podcast from the duo sharing their experiences around fatherhood.

A man of his word, Osher said he would never be photographed with his shirt off unless it was for the cover of Men’s Health Australia. In August 2018, he did just that when he graced the cover revealing his Men’s Health Transformation cover. He moved his body to heal his mind and was happy to take the aesthetic benefits with it.

Osher served on the board of SANE Australia as a director from 2016 – 2019, in an effort to help change attitudes in our society about complex mental illness. Osher was previously an Ambassador for leading children’s charity The Shepherd Centre to help educate the public and help children who are born deaf or hearing impaired. A passionate photographer, cyclist, plant eater and coffee connoisseur, Osher lives in Sydney with his wife, newborn son, stepdaughter and their mischievous cavoodles.

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Amandine Denis-Ryan, Head of National Programs, ClimateWorks Australia

Amandine Denis Ryan

Head of National Programs  |  ClimateWorks Australia

Amandine is Head of National Programs at ClimateWorks Australia, a non-profit organisation that develops independent, evidence-based solutions to assist the transition to net zero emissions for Australia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Her work includes helping governments and businesses develop pathways and strategies for net zero emissions, unblocking barriers to implementation across all sectors of the economy and building capacity in current and future leaders to support the transition. Prior to this, Amandine oversaw research and analysis across the breadth of ClimateWorks’ projects.
Before joining ClimateWorks, Amandine worked as a management consultant for McKinsey and Company.

Stefaan Vergote, Advisor for Emission Reduction Strategies, European Commission

Stefaan Vergote

Advisor for Emission Reduction Strategies, Research & Innovation | European Commission

Stefaan Vergote is Advisor in DG CLIMA since April 2017.

Previously, he was Head of unit for Economic analysis and Financial Instruments Unit in DG ENERGY since March 2014. From 2010 to 2014, he was Head of Unit in DG CLIMA, responsible for development of strategic options for the EU's international and domestic climate action. His team was in charge of the 2050 Low Carbon Roadmap, and the 2030 framework for climate and energy policies.

Previously, as Deputy Head of Unit on Energy and Environment; in DG Environment, he led a team coordinating the preparation and economic analysis of the 2020 Energy and Climate Package, including the review of the EU Emission trading System, The Effort Sharing Decision and Directive on Renewable Energy.

Mr. Vergote has a diploma of civil electrotechnical-mechanical engineer at the Catholic University of Leuven (KULeuven) and holds a Postgraduate Degree in Environmental Management and Technology (KULeuven).

Prior to joining the Commission, Stefaan Vergote was, from 1990 to 1992 a Scientific researcher at the Engineering Department at the Catholic University of Leuven, followed, from 1994 to 1997, by a position of Scientific consultant at IWT (Flemish Institute for Science and Technology) in charge of the evaluation of industrial R&D projects and a Scientific researcher at VITO (Flemish Institute for Technological research).

Thorsten Herdan, Director General, Federal Ministry, Germany

Thorsten Herdan

Director General, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Germany

Thorsten Herdan was appointed Director-General for energy policy in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as of June 2014.

He previously held the positions of managing director of the professional association for producers of power systems and the professional association for producers of engines and systems (VDMA), of managing director of the Research Association for Combustion Engines (FVV), and of managing director of the German Engineering Federations’ Energy Forum, which is in charge of developing the Federation’s energy policy.

Mr. Herdan served on the Board of the European Association of Internal Combustion Engine Manufacturers (EUROMOT), on the Board and the Supervisory Board of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), and as Vice-President of the Offshore Wind Energy Foundation. Further to this, Mr. Herdan has also served as Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Fund for Nuclear Power Plant Waste Disposal since 9 March 2017.

Nicky Ison, Energy Transition Manager, WWF-Australia

Nicky Ison

Energy Transition Manager | WWF-Australia

Nicky has a passion for ensuring that the solutions to climate change are creating a better world

As a long-term climate tragic and energy geek, I am thrilled to be working at WWF-Australia as the Energy Transition Manager.

I grew up in Australia and the UK and at the age of 17, decided to dedicate my life to addressing climate change. Since then, I’ve been a clean energy researcher, a social entrepreneur, an advocate, strategist and commentator.

In 2010, I travelled across Europe visiting communities repowering themselves with clean energy. This inspired me to work with communities across Australia to develop community-owned renewable energy projects, driving a faster and fairer transition to renewable energy.

More recently, I’ve enjoyed writing about the clean energy revolution, you can find some of my pieces in the Guardian, Sydney Morning Herald and the Age.

I have a passion for ensuring that the solutions to climate change are creating a better world, which is why I’m so excited to be leading WWF’s campaign to make Australia a renewable powerhouse.

Outside work my geeky tendencies continue with my love of playing board games with friends. I also love to cook and visit as many beautiful waterfalls as I can find.

Dan Jørgensen, Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities, Denmark

Dan Jørgensen

Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities, Denmark

Dan Jørgensen is Denmark’s minister for climate, energy and utilities since June 2019.

He previously served as minister for food, agriculture and fisheries (2013-15).

Prior to this, Jørgensen was an MEP (2004-13) where he was a member of the ENVI Committee and substitute in the ECON Committee.

He is a strong advocate of the green transition and authored several publications on that topic.

Eytan Lenko, Chair, Beyond Zero Emissions

Eytan Lenko

Chair | Beyond Zero Emissions |

Eytan Lenko is the Chair of Beyond Zero Emissions and a commissioner on the Northern Territory Economic Reconstruction Commission that is advising the NT Chief Minister on the future pathway for the NT economy.

Eytan has a successful business and entrepreneurship background, he was a founder of Outware Mobile, one of Australia’s fastest growing tech companies which was acquired in 2017.

Eytan co-founded Infrastructure Access Managers, a fund manager that aims to decarbonise Australian unlisted infrastructure and is a director of the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network.

Eytan is actively involved in the startup ecosystem both as an investor and a mentor. He is an advisor to the Impact Investment Group’s Giant Leap Fund.

Kristina Haverkamp, Managing Director, German Energy Agency (dena)

Kristina Haverkamp

Managing Director, German Energy Agency (dena)

Kristina Haverkamp is responsible for dena’s financial and administrative matters, along with matters related to international cooperation and sustainability in the transport sector.

Kristina Haverkamp has been dena’s Managing Director since October 2015. She is in charge of the financial and administrative matters of the company and also holds responsibility both for international cooperation and sustainability in the transport sector.

A lawyer by training, Kristina Haverkamp studied in Germany, Switzerland and the USA. She began her career in the Foreign Office as a consultant in international environmental policy, and later became a rapporteur for the transport sector at the Federal Cartel Office.

Subsequently, she held positions at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs, the Federal Ministry of Finance, and, most recently, at the Permanent Representation of Germany to the EU. Here, as Head of the Department of Economics, the ministerial adviser was in charge of energy, environmental and industrial policy, as well as policies related to small and medium-sized enterprises.

Kristina Haverkamp is a member of the scientific advisory board of the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (Agence de l'Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l'Energie (ADEME)) and is on the Board of the European Renewable Gas Registry (ERGaR).

Sally Torgoman, Managing Director, PwC Australia

Sally Torgoman

Managing Director, PwC Australia