HRH The Crown Princess' speech at a seminar on electrification in Sweden and Australia
Australian National University, Canberra, Australien
(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Members of the University faculty,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to start by acknowledging the Ngunnaval people, the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet today. I pay my respect to their elders – past, present, and emerging.
My husband and I are delighted to be visiting Australia and to be here with you today. We have received a very warm welcome and we have already had a chance to see a little glimpse of your country’s breath-taking beauty.
Yesterday, we visited Namadgi National Park and were blown away by the pristine bushland and the sweeping grasslands. And the mountains! It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience – not least to us coming straight from a wintery Sweden.
During our visit we were of course reminded of the terrible images of the bush fires from 2020. I remember well that the fires were a topic of discussion with our children around the dinner table in Stockholm – and I believe in many other homes around the globe too. In fact, these bushfires were an eye-opener for many people that climate change is real.
Hearing to stories from the local fire brigade in the National Park this morning was truly moving – and at the same time shocking. In the 2020 fire, 80 % of the National Park was burned. The bushfire has changed the landscape, threatening native animals including threatened species and ecological communities.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Loss of biodiversity is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity today. Extinction of animals, plants and other organisms threaten life support systems on which we depend, like food, fresh air and clean water.
Climate change affects the planet itself, as well as all of us who live here – humans and animals alike. More recently we have seen the terrible floods in New Zeeland and Pakistan and simultaneously droughts in large parts of Eastern Africa. Glaciers are melting and small island states fear that rising sea levels will eliminate their existence. Climate change is real, and it impacts us all. Here and now.
So, here and now, is a good place and time for a deliberation about things that can be done to mitigate the situation.
Chancellor, I thank you and the Australian National University for hosting this seminar on electrification and energy security. The Australian National University is widely known for its cutting-edge research, also in the fields of climate change and energy. And I know Australia to be a country with great potential for green transformation, not least in the field of energy.
I am very happy to also see representatives from both government and industry. The nexus between science, policy and industry is key.
Energy and electricity make up the foundation of any modern society. Ensuring access to clean, constant, and affordable energy is one of the most important tasks at hand. Success in the green transition in the energy sector is a priority for policymakers across the globe.
To counter climate change and mitigate its consequences, we need to address the ways in which we construct our energy systems. We need to ensure that our energy infrastructure is fit for the world of today and tomorrow. And we need to optimize use of the resources we have. That way we can strengthen our response. That way we can also increase the security and resilience of our societies.
We are at a junction that requires us to find solutions for transforming the way we produce and consume energy.
I am proud to say that we have a large number of Swedish companies and research institutes working toward this end. They are at the forefront, leading the way in developing clean and competitive energy solutions.
I also know that their interest is great in collaborating with Australian partners and contribute to Australia’s energy projects. I hope today’s seminar can be a stepping-stone towards enhancing this collaboration.
I am certain that the exchange between our countries – between our governments, our research institutions, people-to-people and business-to-business – will benefit the competitiveness of both our countries. And the world at large.
We are facing the global challenges together and we will master them through collaboration.
I salute your dedication into making the world and planet a better place for us all. And I look forward to listening to today’s discussions.