Australia’s climate change strategies

We manage and deliver policies and programs to help Australia respond to climate change.

Leading domestic climate change policy

We develop and administer the Australian Government’s domestic actions to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and meet our obligations under the Paris Agreement. This includes:

  • developing and coordinating domestic climate change policy
  • administering climate change programs to help reduce emissions
  • developing and coordinating renewable energy policy and regulation
  • engaging with stakeholder groups and the community on climate priorities
  • supporting business and industry to innovate and adopt smarter practices and technologies
  • helping the land and agriculture sector reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the changing environment

Our domestic policies ensure Australia is not only meeting its international obligations but is preparing for a lower emissions future through:

  • investment and incentives for business and industry
  • reporting and regulation of our biggest emitters
  • supporting individuals and households

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is responsible for delivering climate change adaptation and climate science policy and programs.

Meeting international climate change commitments

Our department works with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Agriculture, Water and Energy to negotiate and meet Australia’s obligations under the Paris Agreement.

Read more about Australia’s international climate change commitments.

Developing long-term climate strategy

Our department is leading the development of Australia’s Long-term Emissions Reduction Strategy. Australia will take this strategy to the 26th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) climate summit in Glasgow in 2021.

Technology Investment Roadmap

Australia’s Technology Investment Roadmap will be a core element of this strategy. The Roadmap will accelerate development and commercialisation of new and emerging low emissions technologies.

To deliver the Roadmap we are partnering with industry and the research community. A Technology Investment Advisory Council of industry, private investment and research leaders is advising the Australian Government on technology priorities and annual Low Emissions Technology Statements.

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The First Low Emissions Technology Statement is a key milestone of the Roadmap.

The Technology Investment Roadmap discussion paper opened the conversation about Australia’s future in a low emissions global economy.

Office of the Special Adviser on Low Emissions Technology

Led by Dr Alan Finkel, the Office of the Special Adviser to the Australian Government on Low Emissions Technology supports Australia’s climate change and emissions reduction strategies across government and internationally.

National Hydrogen Strategy

The National Hydrogen Strategy outlines actions for a clean hydrogen industry that will benefit the Australian economy and help other countries transition.

Future Fuels Strategy

We consulted on a Future Fuels Strategy discussion paper to enable the deploying of low emissions road transport technologies.

Emissions abatement

The Australian Government agreed or agreed-in-principle with recommendations of the King Review, which provided a robust platform to expand the way Australia lowers emissions.

Investing in climate solutions

The Climate Solutions Package is a $3.5 billion investment to deliver on Australia’s 2030 Paris Agreement commitments, building on existing climate change mitigation policies and programs.

The package includes:

  • the Climate Solutions Fund, a $2 billion investment to continue investment in low cost abatement
  • support for a range of new energy efficiency measures for homes, businesses and community organisations
  • funding to develop a national strategy for electric vehicles that will examine public and private charging infrastructure, integration with the electricity system, industry opportunities and barriers to uptake
  • further investment and support for pumped hydro projects like Snowy 2.0 and Marinus Link

Further investments include:

Funding lower emissions

The Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) incentivises Australian businesses to cut the amount of greenhouse gases they create and to undertake activities that store carbon.

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See how we are funding low emissions technology projects and research, including carbon capture and storage (CCS) and clean hydrogen.

Regulating emissions

Australia’s long-term strategy and domestic actions are underpinned by rigorous emissions monitoring and accountability systems.

  • The Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme encourages the additional generation of electricity from sustainable and renewable sources while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) scheme is a single national framework for reporting greenhouse gas emissions, and energy production and consumption.
  • The Safeguard Mechanism requires Australia’s largest greenhouse gas emitters to keep their net emissions below an emissions limit.

The Government is also developing a regulatory framework to enable the exploration, construction, operation and decommissioning of offshore renewable energy projects, including offshore wind, in a fair and transparent way.

Reporting on emissions

Australia has made commitments to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and track progress towards those commitments. We report each year on Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Tracking and reporting greenhouse gas emissions

Find out how we track and report greenhouse gas emissions.

Projecting greenhouse gas emissions

Find out how we project and forecast Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions

Supporting climate resilience

We’re supporting efforts to build the Australian Government’s climate resilience.

Australian Government Disaster and Climate Resilience Reference Group

We are a member of the Australian Government Disaster and Climate Resilience Reference Group. The group comprises senior officials from 22 agencies, and considers risks and challenges arising from climate change and natural disasters.

Climate Compass

The reference group commissioned the development of Climate Compass. Climate Compass is a framework to help Australian public servants manage risks to policies, programs and asset management from the changing climate. The framework builds on climate change adaptation research and science, and reflects the current leading practice in guidance for climate risk management and long-term planning.

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Read more about Climate Compass on the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment website

Climate committees and panels

We’re on the following climate committees and panels:

Our climate change agencies

We work with our portfolio agencies and organisations with climate change functions. 

Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner

The Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner receives and refers complaints about wind farms, large-scale solar farms, energy storage facilities and new major transmission projects.

Australian Renewable Energy Agency

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) finances renewable energy projects.

Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation

The Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) uses climate simulations to project future climate. 

Clean Energy Finance Corporation

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) finances clean energy projects.

Our department oversaw a recent statutory review of the CEFC and found it is effectively facilitating finance into Australia’s clean energy sector. Read the statutory review report on the CEFC website.

See the independent review of CEFC decisions in relation to RateSetter.

Clean Energy Regulator

The Clean Energy Regulator administers the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting scheme, the Emissions Reduction Fund, and the Renewable Energy Target scheme. Our department develops and has oversight of the legislation underpinning these schemes.

Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard

The Climate Active initiative is a partnership between the Australian Government and Australian businesses to encourage voluntary climate action. Organisations who become carbon neutral receive certification and can display the Climate Active trade mark. Read how we administer Climate Active.

Climate Change Authority

The Climate Change Authority advises the Australian Government on Australia’s climate change policies and future emissions reductions targets.

Read more

See emissions reduction case studies

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