Banking on Paris: Public investment governance and evaluation in the transition to net zero emissions

Crawford School of Public Policy

Event details

PhD Seminar

Date & time

Thursday 19 May 2022


Acton Theatre and Zoom


Chell Lyons (PhD candidate)


Ana Manero

Hybrid event Meeting ID: 831 5313 6296 Password: 187656

Abstract: Meeting the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement has shifted from being primarily a question of technological capability, to one of effective investment. Reaching net zero emissions requires massive public and private investments across all emissions sectors, estimated at USD$275 trillion by 2050 (McKinsey, 2022). These investments need to facilitate rapid decarbonisation, accelerate electrification, and develop negative emissions technologies in hard-to-decarbonise sectors. The next decade is a critical phase of the investment transition as the world moves towards the temperature thresholds set out in the Paris Agreement and the physical impacts of climate change increase. But how do public actors define and evaluate what constitutes an effective investment in the transition to net zero emissions? Traditionally, quantitative metrics such as the total value of investment commitments, private sector leverage ratios, and emissions reductions have been used by public banks seeking to evaluate investments in clean energy technologies. However, relying on these metrics alone fails to account the non-monetary co-benefits of public investments such as technology innovation, knowledge spillovers and social equity improvements.

This thesis explores the roles of public investment in the transition to net zero emissions. It examines how public banks, particularly green banks, evaluate investment decisions, with a focus on implications for Australian policymakers. Underpinned by value theory, decision theory and innovation theory, it explores multiple dimensions of the investment transition to net zero and the risks and opportunities it provides.

Biography Chell Lyons commenced her PhD in 2021, as a Sir Roland Wilson scholar on secondment from the Australian Public Service where she has worked on international and domestic climate change policy since 2009. Prior to that , she spent several years in media working for SBS and Time Inc. South Pacific. In 2015, she was part of the first external team invited to participate in the CSIRO ON accelerator. In 2017, she was named an emerging leader as part of the EU-Australia Leadership Dialogue. In 2019, she was an inaugural recipient of the JW Land Research Fellowship working on the ANU Energy Change Institute’s Grand Challenge Zero Carbon Energy for the Asia Pacific.

Link to ANU profile page or your professional website:
Seminar chair: Professor Frank Jotzo Panel members: Dr Emma Aisbett, Dr Lee V White

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