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Climate change

International cooperation on climate change

Australia works closely with international partners to address the impacts of climate change and supports full, equal, and meaningful diverse participation and leadership in international climate processes. We continue to recognise the unique contributions of Indigenous Peoples, women and girls, persons with disabilities, and youth in climate change action.

Australia continues working with Pacific Island Countries in bidding to host COP31 in 2026, to accelerate global climate action and to bring profile to the climate impacts in our region.

We work with the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water to negotiate and meet Australia’s obligations under the Paris Agreement.

Australia has been a strategic funder of the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD), a global initiative that has developed a risk management and disclosure framework for organisations to report and act on evolving nature-related dependencies, impacts, risks and opportunities. The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Wate is working closely with the private sector to showcase Australian leadership and drive engagement with the TNFD framework.

Committed to the Paris Agreement

Australia is party to the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement came into force in 2016. It was a major step forward in international efforts to address climate change. Other international treaties are the:

The Paris Agreement aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by:

  • holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels
  • pursuing efforts to limit temperature increase to 1.5°C.

Nationally Determined Contributions

Under the Paris Agreement, Australia must submit emissions reduction commitments known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Australia submitted its first NDC to the UNFCCC in 2015. We submitted an updated version of this NDC in 2022. The update commits Australia to reducing its emissions to 43% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Australia will submit its second NDC to the UNFCCC in 2025.

Climate finance

Australia's climate finance supports countries in our region adapt to the increasing impacts of climate change and to reduce their emissions by investing in renewables and clean technologies to meet their net-zero transition goals.

Australia has strengthened its previous $2 billion climate finance commitment and expects to deliver $3 billion towards the global goal (USD100 billion per annum) over 2020-25, largely through existing ODA commitments. 

Australia's climate finance is focused on the Pacific and Southeast Asia. Our climate finance includes bilateral and regional programs, along with contributions to multilateral development banks' climate programming and multilateral climate funds like the Global Environment Facility and the Green Climate Fund (pledge announced in December 2023).

Australia is investing in a number of climate and clean energy infrastructure priorities to support partners in our region to build climate resilience and transition to net-zero. This includes our $200 million Climate and Infrastructure Partnership with Indonesia through the Partnerships for Infrastructure program, and our Pacific Climate Infrastructure Financing Partnership.

Australia is committed to responding to calls for climate action at home and abroad and will continue to contribute towards the collective USD100 billion per annum climate finance goal.

Bilateral initiatives

Australia, through the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, regularly discusses climate change with other countries, exchanging information and collaborating at both ministerial and senior official levels.

Action on biodiversity

Australia recognises the important link between climate change and the unprecedented global loss of biodiversity, and the need to conserve, restore and protect ecosystems. Our action on climate change goes hand-in-hand with action to adapt to our changing climate. The Australian Government is supporting countries to protect and restore their mangroves and seagrass beds with our Blue Carbon Accelerator Fund, in Indonesia, in the Philippines, and in Madagascar.

Action on plastics

Plastic pollution is a global issue that cannot be solved alone. In 2022, Australia joined the global fight to end plastic pollution at the UN Environment Assembly, agreeing to negotiate a new global treaty on plastic pollution. Australia strongly supports the new global treaty and will play an active leadership role in negotiations. This is an important pillar of the new government's international environmental agenda.

Australia has also signed the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, fulfilling Minister Pliberseks promise at the 2022 UN Oceans Conference that Australia would sign up to the Global Commitment by the end of that year.

Australia also plays a lead role in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Informal Dialogue on Plastics Pollution and Sustainable Plastics Trade Initiative (the IDP), and has joined a number of international initiatives to combat marine plastic pollution.

The Environment and Water Minister recently stated that she would like to see a plastic-free Pacific within our lifetime. Australia is investing in regional initiatives to address the Pacific waste management challenges, including within the Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific Island Countries Plastics Pact (ANZPAC) to work towards a regional circular economy for plastic packaging. We are also assisting our Pacific Island neighbours to reduce marine plastic litter through the $16 million Pacific Ocean Litter Project (2019-2026).

Action on forests

Action to protect and sustainably manage forests is a key part of taking climate action, addressing biodiversity loss, and achieving sustainable development. Australia is engaged in a range of international fora and cooperative bilateral arrangements on forests matters, led by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water.

For example, at UNFCCC COP26 Australia joined the Glasgow Leaders' Declaration on Forests and Land Use, committing to working collectively to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 while delivering sustainable development and promoting an inclusive rural transformation. Australia is carrying this commitment forward through engagement including the Forests and Climate Leaders Partnership, which Australia joined on its inauguration at UNFCCC COP27.

Australia is also actively engaged in the United Nations Forum on Forests, to progress the implementation of sustainable forest management globally and help realise the UN's 2030 Global Forest Goals, and within the APEC Expert Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade to combat this global crime with its widespread environmental, social and economic impacts.

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research's Forestry Program contributes scientific support towards the sustainable management and use of forests, helping to improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers and their communities in partner countries. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research's Forestry Program contributes scientific support towards the sustainable management and use of forests, helping to improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers and their communities in partner countries.

New Forest's Tropical Asia Forestry Fund 2 (TAFF2 L.P.) under the Australia Climate Finance Partnership (ACFP) supports sustainable forestry practices in Southeast Asia. TAFF2 aims to reduce logging in natural tropical forests by helping plantation companies manage and scale up their operations in a sustainable manner. The investment comprises of a USD 10 million investment from ACFP.

Action on oceans

Australia's international engagement on oceans is led by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water.

The ocean is under immense pressure from climate change and other threats such as pollution and habitat loss. Without action, we are likely to see continued and widespread degradation of our marine environment. This will affect marine industries and the health and wellbeing of millions of people reliant on oceans. Strong international partnerships support countries working together to protect the global ocean and coastal ecosystems. Australia is championing the development of sustainable ocean plans, the ratification and implementation of the high seas biodiversity treaty, and the International Blue Carbon Partnership.

As a member of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel), Australia is working with 17 other world leaders to advocate for strong, practical solutions to help the world transition to a sustainable ocean economy where jobs are secured, ocean health is protected and prosperity is shared equitably. The 18 serving world leaders on the Panel are responsible for nearly 50 per cent of the world's ocean within national jurisdictions and are each committed to sustainably managing 100 per cent of these waters by 2025.  Australia is developing a Sustainable Ocean Plan for release this year. The Plan will set a shared vision for our ocean to 2040 and identify actions to grow our ocean economy sustainably.

It will play an important role in achieving the global target to protect 30 per cent of the world's coastal and marine areas by 2030.

Australia has established marine-protected areas – the Christmas Island Marine Park and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Marine Park in the Indian Ocean Territories and has tripled the size of the Macquarie Island Marine Park protecting this sub-Antarctic marine environment. This increased the area of Australia's ocean currently protected by  marine park  to 48 per cent, and the area of our waters in highly protected areas closed to fishing to around 22 per cent, reinforcing Australia's commitment and global leadership in ocean protection.

On 20 September 2023, Australia joined likeminded nations, including Pacific island countries, in signing the Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea treaty on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ; or High Seas Biodiversity Treaty). Its opening for signature on 20 September marked the culmination of nearly two decades of negotiations and discussions. The treaty is a remarkable milestone for the protection of the world's ocean. It will play an important role in achieving the global target to protect 30 per cent of the world's coastal and marine areas by 2030.

Australia is investing in practical action to restore and account for coastal blue carbon ecosystems domestically and overseas, including supporting blue carbon conservation in the region. Coastal blue carbon ecosystems are environments that support mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrasses. The term 'blue carbon' recognises these ecosystems' ability to capture and store large amounts of carbon in their soils, roots and plants. Australia is considered a global 'blue carbon hotspot', harbouring about 12 percent of the world's blue carbon ecosystems.

Australia launched the International Partnership for Blue Carbon at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference and it is now a global network of over 55 partners.. The Partnership shares knowledge, builds awareness, and accelerates practical action on blue carbon protection and on-ground implementation of blue carbon ecosystem restoration activities. Australia has launched the Blue Carbon Accelerator Fund to support the development of blue carbon restoration and conservation projects in countries outside Australia and to help pave the way for private sector finance. Australia is contributing $7.25 million through the Accelerator Fund to support projects in Peru, the Philippines, Madagascar and Benin.

Australia is also a member of the UAE-Indonesia led Mangrove Alliance for Climate which was launched at COP27 and further amplified during the G20. As an extension of this membership, during COP28, Australia endorsed the Mangrove Breakthrough and its science-based protocols for implementation to complement our existing efforts and to further support knowledge sharing.

We are partnering with regional neighbours on coastal blue carbon protection and restoration, including funding programs in the Indian Ocean Rim Association Blue Carbon Hub ($1 million), and supporting the Pacific Blue Carbon Program ($6.3 million).

Australia's international engagement on coral reefs is led by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water. Australia was a founding member of the International Coral Reef Initiative and supports the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network. Australia is also supporting the ReefCloud open-access platform in the Pacific and beyond, which uses innovative technology and Artificial Intelligence to support coral reef management.

Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef is the is the largest coral reef globally and was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1981 for its outstanding universal value. It is also Sea Country home for First Nations peoples — more than 70 Traditional Owner groups — whose connections date back more than 60,000 years. The Reef is facing significant threats, including from climate change. Australia is investing in its resilience and restoration, working with partners, and using the latest science to protect the Reef into the future.

Climate and Clean Air Coalition

Australia is a partner in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, which brings together more than 100 partners to reduce and avoid emissions of fast acting pollutants, such as methane, hydrofluorocarbons and black carbon.

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water leads Australia's engagement with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition.

Global Environment Facility (GEF)

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is one of the world's largest funder of biodiversity protection, nature restoration, pollution reduction, and climate change response in developing countries. It finances international environmental conventions and country-driven initiatives that generate global benefits. The GEF partnership connects 184 member governments with civil society, Indigenous Peoples, and the private sector, and works closely with other environmental financiers for efficiency and impact. Over the past three decades, the GEF has provided more than $23 billion and mobilised another $129 billion in co-financing for more than 5,000 national and regional projects, plus 27,000 community-led initiatives through its Small Grants Programme. The GEF supports the following international environment agreements:

Australia is a contributor to the GEF and a member of the GEF Council. Australia recently committed $80 million to the eighth GEF replenishment (2022-2026). Australia has supported the GEF since its inception 30 years ago.

Green Climate Fund (GCF)

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is world's largest multilateral climate fund and supports developing countries in achieving a reduction of their greenhouse gas emissions and an enhancement of their ability to respond to climate change. The GCF was established in 2010 as an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It aims to make an ambitious contribution for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and its mitigation and adaptation goals by supporting the paradigm shift in developing countries towards low-carbon and climate-resilient development pathways.

In December 2023, Australia announced that it would provide a contribution of $50 million to the second GCF replenishment (2024-2027).

International Partnerships for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy

The International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE), formed in 2003, is an international governmental partnership currently consisting of 21 member countries and the European Commission. Australia is an active member of IPHE, including leading work with other members on methods to determine the carbon emissions from hydrogen production to support a future trade in clean hydrogen and its derivatives like ammonia. This informs the Australian Government's work to design and develop an internationally consistent Guarantee of Origin scheme for Australia.

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water leads Australia's engagement with the International Partnership on Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy.

Mission Innovation

Australia joined Mission Innovation, a group of countries committed to doubling governmental investment in clean energy innovation over five years, at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference. Mission Innovation members are collaborating around a set of innovation challenges to accelerate technology breakthroughs in priority areas: smart grids; off-grid access to electricity; carbon capture and storage; sustainable biofuels; converting sunlight; clean energy materials; affordable heating and cooling of buildings; and hydrogen.

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water leads Australia’s engagement with Mission Innovation.

International Renewable Energy Agency

Since its creation in 2011, Australia has been a member of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) which supports countries transition to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future. IRENA promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, including bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind energy in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity. Australia's engagement with IRENA helps us stay abreast of renewable energy policy developments and practical tools to accelerate renewable energy deployment. It connects us with a key forum for knowledge sharing and technology transfer in relation to clean, sustainable energy, and with other countries pursuing similar energy decarbonisation agendas to Australia. The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water leads Australia's engagement with IRENA.

International Solar Alliance (ISA)

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) was launched at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, aiming to promote the roll out of solar technology, particularly in countries that have high solar resources but under-developed electricity access. Australia is a founding member of the ISA and has committed to share its knowledge and expertise for capacity building with other ISA Members. For example, Australia is offering free tailored expert advice, webinars and training, and a library of tools and resources for policy development through the Clean Energy Solutions Centre.

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water leads Australia’s engagement with the International Solar Alliance.

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