Australian Climate Policy

Australia’s climate policy environment is a changing landscape, at local, state and federal levels. From coast to coast there are a range of different frameworks, structures and mechanisms that are in place to constrain or drive down emissions in the transition to a zero-carbon economy.

Below, we have painted a picture of this landscape, covering what Australian governments are doing at the Commonwealth and State levels, but also how these policy suites interact on the global stage. Understanding this suite of policies can help Australian business better understand the risks and opportunities that we face in the transition to a zero-carbon economy.

For Australia to meet its 2030 Paris Agreement target of 26% – 28% emissions reduction below 2005 levels, our existing suite will need to evolve to drive emissions below business as usual.

As a key, constructive and independent markets voice in the policy discussion, CMI continues to put forward various ways that domestic policy could evolve to meet our targets, and create economic opportunities at home and abroad. These policy positions are noted throughout this page, beginning with our submission to the 2017 Climate Policy Review, below.

Federal Policy

Australia’s Climate Policy Suite

The Australian Government’s climate change response consists of a suite of complementary policies designed to drive emissions reduction in line with Australia’s domestic targets, and international obligations under the Paris Agreement. This suite of policies covers a broad range of frameworks including those relating to carbon farming, industrial emissions reductions, renewable energy supply, electricity generation, as well as a national focus on investment and economic regulation. These policies have emerged as an enduring framework under former Environment Minister, Hon Greg Hunt MP; the current Turnbull Government, has merged Environment & Energy into one portfolio allowing for potentially closer linkages of climate change and energy policies over time.

Environment & Energy Minister Hon Josh Frydenberg MP oversees the delivery of the below suite of climate change policies; this also includes oversight and direction of the following four statutory and regulatory bodies: Australian Renewable Energy Agency, Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Clean Energy Regulator and the Climate Change Authority.

SUBMISSION: 2017 Climate Policy Review

The Australian Government has undertaken a national review of its domestic climate policies. The Carbon Market Institute sees the outcomes advised in its Submission to the 2017 Review will be vital to how Australia’s existing policies can evolve to meet current and future emissions reduction commitments under the Paris Agreement. Click on the image to read more. Click Here

Policies, Frameworks & Industry Positions


Below are outlined some of the key policies that form the Australian Government’s Direct Action Plan, as well as other issues and considerations that take into account the position of industry on how existing policies should evolve to enable emissions reduction across the economy, and creation of economic value through linkage with international markets.

State Policy

State Action on Climate Change

Australian state and territory governments have made many policy responses to climate change. Nearly all States and Territories now have strong renewable energy targets and/or aspirational zero emissions targets in place.

International Engagement

Australia’s Aid, Trade & Diplomacy

The Australian Government’s international response coalesces around its 2030 target of reducing emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030, which forms the foundation of its Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement (Australia’s national 2030 emissions reduction target).

Further to this target the Government, predominantly through the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, engages in resilience and development activities to support the climate mitigation and adaptation of allies in the Asia Pacific region – particularly low lying Pacific Island nations. This includes support through direct aid, capacity building and facilitating through bilateral relationships the trade of low-carbon products and services into the region.

Further afield, Australia is aligning these aid, trade and diplomatic relationships to effectively support the transition to a global zero-carbon economy, and Australia’s role in the transformation underway.

REPORT: Operationalising Article 6 of the Paris Agreement

Australia is well positioned to engage in existing and future carbon markets. This document details CMI’s position on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, recognising that it offers the opportunity to build a global carbon market to achieve the ambition of the Agreement. Click on the image to read more. Click Here

Global Frameworks & Market Positioning


Below are outlined some of the key policies that form the Australian Government’s Direct Action Plan, as well as other issues and considerations that take into account the position of industry on how existing policies should evolve to enable emissions reduction across the economy, and creation of economic value through linkage with international markets.