Individuals and households
Everyone can take action to help address and adapt to climate change.
Individuals and households are contributing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and government programs and policies are in place to provide support.
Actions such as installing solar panels on roof tops, citizen science activities like monitoring the condition of the Great Barrier Reef, buying fuel efficient cars and appliances, and supporting companies that have cut greenhouse gas emissions are some of the things individuals and households can do.
Australia's households are responsible for around 12 per cent of emissions.
Households release greenhouse gases through use of natural gas and other fuels and use of hydrofluorocarbons in refrigerators and air conditioners.
They also indirectly contribute to emissions through electricity consumption.
The majority of household-related emissions are associated with heating, ventilation and air conditioning, lighting and hot water systems.
Many households have reduced their electricity consumption over the past seven years by using more efficient appliances in s and increasing uptake of rooftop solar systems.
A world-leading 21 per cent of Australian households now have rooftop solar installed.
Ways for individuals and households to participate or learn more
Households and consumers 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 on the energy.gov.au website.
The Renewable Energy Target helps individuals and households invest in smart rooftop solar technologies. owners are eligible for upfront support through the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme. More than 3.38 million rooftop solar systems including solar panels and heaters have been installed across Australia. Twenty per cent of Australian households have installed solar rooftop technologies - the highest proportion in the world.
The Emissions Reduction Fund provides incentives for a range of organisations and individuals to adopt new practices and technologies to reduce their greenhouse emissions. It supports reducing emissions by small energy users through projects such as more efficient lighting, draft-sealing, equipment controls, efficient refrigeration and fuel-switching.
Emissions Reduction Fund projects
The Emissions Reduction Fund is one of the Australia Government's major policies addressing climate change with a national focus on a range of projects including agriculture, energy efficiency, and transport
The manufacture, import and export of a range of ozone depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gases are controlled in Australia. Australia started a phase-down of HFC imports in 2018 and will reach an 85 per cent reduction from 2036. An information program to improve installation and maintenance of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment is being developed to reduce refrigerant leaks and improve energy performance. Bans on the import or manufacture of new equipment will be considered in the future, where alternative technologies are readily available.
The Carbon Neutral Program certifies organisations, products/services and events as carbon neutral against the National Carbon Offset Standard. Support from individuals and households for organisations that have achieved the carbon neutral certification sends a clear message to the market about community expectations in emissions reductions.
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 UNFCCC.
Information on opportunities to participate in IPCC work can be found on the Department's IPCC web page.
IPCC publications can be accessed on the IPCC Library website.
Taxation measures have also been designed to reduce emissions. The threshold tax on luxury cars is higher for those that are more fuel efficient to encourage consumers to consider the environmental impact of vehicles.
The National Landcare Program is a locally focussed initiative supporting projects protecting and restoring the environment and making agriculture more sustainable and productive contributing to greenhouse gas mitigation. The initiative encourages individual involvement in activities that also directly reduce emissions.
The National Energy Productivity Plan is designed to deliver a 40 per cent improvement in Australia's energy productivity by 2030 and contribute to Australia's 2030 emissions reduction target. Measures reduce energy demand, support more and smarter energy choices as well as markets for new energy services and technologies.
It assists households to reduce their energy use and costs. Australia is one of the strongest performers in sustainable real estate practices due to annual disclosure of sustainability performance, a high uptake of green building certificates and energy ratings, and a high update of best practice leases with sustainability clauses. This makes Australia an attractive destination for pension and superannuation funds in green building projects.
The Plan is also improving consumer information and tools such as Energy Made Easy, Energy.gov.au, and Your websites, which provide information and case studies on how households and businesses can reduce their energy use and costs.
Energy market reform is a major priority of the Government to improve market efficiency and productivity gains in the electricity sector. It will provide consumers with more decision-making tools and technology choices. Recent reforms give consumers more choice about who they buy electricity from and more information to help manage their electricity use. This makes it easier to adjust electricity use to save money. The reforms make it easier to sell electricity from solar panels and batteries back to the grid.
The National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy sets out how Australia is managing the risks of our variable and changing climate for the benefit of the community, economy and our environment and what a climate-resilient future looks like. It includes principles on how we can adapt to climate change and build resilience.
The Reef 2050 Plan is the overarching framework for protecting and managing the Great Barrier Reef until 2050, including from the impacts of climate change. There are a number of different ways people can actively be involved in monitoring the health of the Great Barrier Reef to help scientists and managers better protect and improve the natural wonder including from climate change. One way is through the Eye on the Reef, a monitoring and assessment program run by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. The other is CoralWatch, a citizen science project initiative of the University of Queensland.
The Government's energy efficiency standards and rating systems helps individuals buy more efficient appliances, which reduces emissions and saves money. Energy efficiency standards for appliances, equipment and buildings help businesses design, build and buy smarter and reduce emissions. For example, the Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) Program is accelerating appliance energy efficiency standards in areas of air-conditioning, commercial refrigeration, lighting, swimming pool pumps, fridges and freezers and non-domestic fans. These improvements will potentially save consumers hundreds of dollars a year and reduce emissions. The program has helped improve household energy productivity by almost 60 per cent over the last 15 years. A good example is modern fridges which are much bigger than in the 1990s but use less than half the power.
The Green Vehicle Guide is an Australian Government initiative to assist buyers on the performance of light vehicles sold in Australia to reduce the impact on the environment. Work is also underway to reduce emissions from light vehicles through consultations with industry as well as improve the quality of Australia's transport fuels. As well as reducing emissions, this could also cut consumer fuel costs, reduce health costs and help give Australians better access to the latest vehicle technology.
Fuel efficiency and CO2 labelling is a requirement for new light vehicles in Australia. The labels indicate a vehicle's fuel consumption and its carbon dioxide emissions and is designed to help motorists make informed choices about the environmental impact of their new car.
The National Greenhouse Accounts are a series of comprehensive reports and databases that estimate, and account for, Australia's greenhouse gas emissions on a national, state and territory basis.
In particular, individuals and households can obtain:
- emissions data for particular states and territories, economic sectors and years from the Australian Greenhouse Emissions Information System
- latest available official emissions data from the Quarterly Update of Australia's national greenhouse gas inventory
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.
Energy.gov.au provides information about saving energy, saving money and available government assistance. This includes how to understand your energy bills and electricity and gas market offers.