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Government and international initiatives

Australia is meeting its climate change targets, improving the environment and supporting an effective international response.

The Paris Agreement is a powerful symbol of countries' commitment to a low-carbon, climate resilient future. On 10 November 2016, Australia ratified the Paris Agreement and the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, reinforcing our commitment to action on climate change. In 2017, the Government reviewed its climate policies to ensure they remain effective in achieving Australia's 2030 target and Paris Agreement commitments. The 2017 review of climate change policies report was released on 19 December 2017.

Australia has a comprehensive suite of policies to reduce domestic emissions, support effective international efforts without compromising economic growth and driving up energy prices.

The Government's climate change plan includes:

  • Reducing emissions by 5 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020.
  • Reducing emissions by 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
  • Doubling Australia's renewable energy capacity to be achieved in 2020 which is driving innovation, creating jobs and providing a cleaner future
  • Encouraging the uptake of renewables through the Renewable Energy Target to deliver over 23 per cent of Australia's electricity supply in 2020.
  • Helping improve energy productivity by 40 per cent, by 2030.
  • Ensuring big business and Australia's largest emitters do their part and continue to reduce emissions.
  • Helping expand and protect our green spaces and iconic places such as the Great Barrier Reef
  • Spurring businesses, communities, households and individuals into ongoing action to reduce emissions.
  • Investing in innovation and clean technology to help capture the opportunities of a cleaner future.
  • Managing climate risks by building resilience in the community, economy and environment.

Key climate change players at the Federal Government level

Government programs, policies and tools supporting action on climate change

Programs Policies Tools
Emissions Reduction Fund National Energy Productivitiy Plan Australia's emissions projections
Clean Energy Innovation Fund Energy market reform National Greenhouse Gas Inventory
Renewable Energy Target National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy Australian Renewable Energy Mapping Infrastructure Project
Climate Active National Clean Air Agreement Truck Buyers Guide
Support for low-emissions and carbon capture and storage Australia's international climate policies Green Vehicle Guide
Hydro-fluorocarbon management Reef 2050 Plan Fuel efficiency and CO2 labelling
Taxation measures Safeguard mechanism CoastAdapt
National Low Emissions Coal Initiative
Energy efficiency measures
Solar Communities Program
Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) program
20 Million Trees
National Landcare Program
Food Rescue Charity Program
National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme (NGERS)
Asia-Pacific Rainforest Partnership
Mission Innovation
Blue Carbon
Engaging with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Engaging with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
Carbon Capture and Storage Research Development and Demonstration Fund
Carbon Farming Futures


  • Emissions Reduction Fund
    Provides incentives for organisations and individuals to adopt new practices and technologies to reduce their greenhouse emissions and store carbon.
  • Renewable Energy Target
    The Australian Government scheme designed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the electricity sector and to encourage the additional generation of electricity from sustainable and renewable sources.
  • Clean Energy Innovation Fund
    Invests commercially to increase the flow of funds into renewable energy, energy efficiency and low emissions technologies. The CEFC is a $10 billion fund dedicated to accelerating Australia's transformation towards a more competitive economy in a carbon-constrained world.
  • Climate Active
    Certifies organisations, products and services as carbon neutral against the Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard. To achieve carbon neutral certification organisations must measure emissions, reduce these where possible, offset remaining emissions and report on their carbon neutrality.
  • Solar Communities Program
    A $5 million program to support local responses to climate change and help deliver lower electricity costs for community organisations through the installation of rooftop solar panels, solar hot water and solar-connected battery systems.
  • Energy efficiency measures
    Australian households and businesses can significantly reduce their energy use through appliances including fridges, washing machines, televisions and lights. Practical information on how to save energy and cut power bills is available at energy efficiency. It includes information for designers, builders and householders about how to design, build and live in an environmentally sustainable .
  • Mission Innovation Initiative
    Australia is a member of Mission Innovation, an initiative formed in Paris aiming to double investment in clean energy innovation over the next five years.
  • Blue Carbon
    The Australian Government is involved in domestic and international efforts to protect and enhance the carbon stored in coastal ecosystems.
  • Engaging with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change and key source of scientific information and technical guidance to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Department is Australia's IPCC national focal point.
  • Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)
    ARENA funding helps to bridge the gap between bright ideas and commercialisation. From laboratory research to large-scale pre-commercial and deployment activities, ARENA funding spans the entire innovation chain.
  • Hydro-fluorocarbon management
    Controls on the manufacture, import and export of a range of ozone depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gases.
  • Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) Program
    A national and New Zealand collaboration to deliver a single, integrated program on energy efficiency standards and energy labelling for appliances, equipment and buildings.
  • Taxation measures
    The threshold for tax on luxury cars is higher for those that are more fuel efficient to encourage buyers to consider the environmental impact of vehicles.
  • 20 Million Trees
    A scheme to plant 20 million trees by 2020 benefiting environmental conservation through community engagement, and contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • National Low Emissions Coal Initiative
    Helps to accelerate the development and deployment of low emission technologies and CO2 transport and storage infrastructure to cut greenhouse gas emissions from coal usage.
  • National Landcare Program
    A locally focussed initiative supporting projects protecting and restoring the environment, making agriculture more sustainable and productive, contributing to greenhouse gas reductions.
  • Food Rescue Charity Program
    The $1.2 million Food Rescue Charity Program is assisting four charities to invest in solar, batteries and energy efficient refrigeration.
  • Carbon Farming Futures
    Delivers research, on-farm trials and communication of activities that support greenhouse emission reductions.

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  • National Energy Productivity Plan
    Designed to deliver a 40 per cent improvement in Australia's energy productivity by 2030 and contribute to Australia's 2030 emissions reduction target.
  • Energy market reforms
    A major priority of CoAG to improve market efficiency and productivity gains in the electricity sector.
  • National Clean Air Agreement
    Focuses on reducing air pollution and improving air quality through cooperation between industry and government.
  • Australia's international capacity building programs
    Australia shares expertise to support developing countries with capacity building programs on the measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly through Australia's national inventory system, and in the forests and land sector. This work improves the tracking of global greenhouse gas emissions and global mitigation efforts, including through international cooperation.
  • Reef 2050 Plan
    The overarching framework for protecting and managing the Great Barrier Reef until 2050 including from the impacts of climate change.
  • Safeguard Mechanism
    The Emissions Reduction Fund's safeguard mechanism places limits on the emissions of Australia's largest greenhouse gas emitters and ensures emissions reductions purchased by the Government are not offset by significant increases in emissions above business-as-usual levels elsewhere in the economy.

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  • Australia's emissions projections
    Australia's emissions projections provide detailed information on Australia's emissions trends and how we are tracking against our emissions reduction targets, including sector specific analysis.
  • National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Program
    The Program delivers the National Greenhouse Accounts that provide the official basis for assessing Australia's compliance with its international emission reduction commitments, fulfilling Australia's greenhouse gas inventory reporting obligations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol, supporting the design, implementation and evaluation of domestic emission reduction policies, and informing future emission reduction commitments.
  • Green Vehicle Guide
    An Australian Government initiative to assist buyers on the environmental performance of light vehicles sold in Australia to reduce the impact on the environment.
  • Truck Buyers Guide
    An Australian Government initiative to help in choosing a small or medium size truck or commercial vehicle to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Fuel efficiency and CO2 labelling
    All new light vehicles in Australia are required to display a label indicating the vehicle's fuel consumption and its carbon dioxide emissions, designed to help motorists make informed choices about the environmental impact of their new car.
  • CoastAdapt
    The CoastAdapt tool is an online tool to help local governments and other organisations understand and manage coastal climate risks, such as sea-level rise, storm surges and other coastal hazards. It helps decision makers balance a wide range of risk factors - environmental, legal, economic and social - in an integrated way. It also supports the use of climate information to consult more effectively with communities and households.

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