The Federal Coalition's climate failure: An overview

By Leigh Ewbank ‒ Act on Climate coordinator, Friends of the Earth Melbourne

The federal Coalition government's poor record on climate change policy isn't from inaction or incompetence.

Evidence shows it has actively undermined efforts to address the issue. Since 2013 the Coalition has:

  • Defunded the Climate Commission.
  • Defunded the CSIRO’s climate change research programs.
  • Appointed a ‘climate sceptic’ to review the national Renewable Energy Target.
  • Slashed the national Renewable Energy Target by 20 percent.
  • Attacked wind farms and backing a hostile senate inquiry into the technology.
  • Presided over the loss of 1 in 3 jobs in Australia’s renewable energy sector.
  • Suggested “coal is good for humanity.”
  • Brandished a lump of coal in the House of Representatives while Australians on the east coast sweltered through a record-breaking heatwave.
  • Attempted to abolish the national Clean Energy Finance Corporation twice despite it delivering a return on investment to taxpayers.
  • Suggested that so-called “clean coal” and gas power should receive funding from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
  • Cut the budget of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) by $500 million.
  • Ruled out an Emissions Intensity Scheme before considering the merits of the policy.
  • Repealed the carbon price penalty for corporations that pollute our air and cause climate change.
  • Let polluters of the hook and forcing taxpayers to pay for emissions cuts by establishing the flawed Emissions Reduction Fund.
  • Supported Adani’s Carmichael coal mine and export industry.
  • Continued calls to overturn the Victoria’s legislated ban on risky unconventional gasfields and moratorium on onshore gas.
  • Attacked environment groups and charities in the press, with hostile reviews, and the appointment of a long-standing critic as Charities Commissioner. 
  • Undertaken a tokenistic climate policy review and buried the findings a few days before Christmas.


Act on Climate will be keeping a watchful eye on the Federal government's climate change policies. We endeavour to hold them to account for any actions that undermine Australia's contribution to global efforts to tackle climate change.

Published in Chain Reaction #132, April 2018. National magazine of Friends of the Earth Australia. www.foe.org.au/chain_reaction_132


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