The Climate Council turns 8!

29.09.21 By

On September 7th, 2013, as his very first act as Prime Minister, Tony Abbott abolished the Climate Commission. On September 24th, 2013 the Climate Council re-launched with the biggest crowd-funding campaign of its time: over 16,000 Australians pitched in over $1.1 million dollars in just 10 days to bring the Climate Council to life. 

Fast forward to 2021 and hundreds of thousands more have joined Australia’s leading independent voice on climate science, solutions and action as part of the Climate Council community. Together, we have shifted national attitudes and catalysed climate action at every level of government. 

From the very beginning, our community has been at the heart of everything we do, and we cannot thank you enough. 

It’s clear that the national conversation about climate change has changed drastically since 2013, from the halls of parliament to the local pub. The majority of people in every federal seat across the country want to see the government take stronger action on climate change, and 60% of Australians feel that “climate change is a serious and pressing problem”, up from only 40% in 2013.

Let’s take a look back at some of the highlights from all we’ve achieved together over the past 8 years.



REPORT: Neighbourhood Issue: Climate Costs & Risks to Councils

As the level of government closest to the community, councils are at the heart of responding to climate impacts. The findings and case studies in this report paint a picture of the impacts and scale of the challenge councils face, but also outline a pathway to overcome them.

REPORT: Rising to the Challenge: Addressing Climate & Security in Our Region

The cover of CLimate Council report about security and climate change. 3 images as a collage.

This report outlines the relationship between climate and security. It highlights significant risks within our region that could be realised in the future, and how Australia can rise to this challenge.

Watch our Climate Security Online Panel Discussion to learn more:

Cities Power Partnership reaches over 150 Partner Councils

The Cities Power Partnership now represents over 60% of Australians, across over 500 cities and towns, as Australia’s largest network of local councils leading the way to a thriving, zero emissions future.


Explaining the IPCC Report

The Climate Council breaks down the findings of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to help everyday Australians understand the latest science, and push our business, community and political leaders to cut emissions by as much as possible, as fast as possible.


Community Protection Pledge

Has your MP Signed the Community Protection Pledge?

Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ELCA), a project supported by the Climate Council, launches the Community Protection Pledge. The pledge is a set of 10 commitments aimed at all of Australia’s 151 Federal MPs, who are committed to advocating for climate action and protecting their communities.


REPORT: Kicking the Gas Habit: How Gas is Harming our Health

Gas is a dangerous, polluting fossil fuel that’s harmful to our health, wellbeing, and climate. This report smacks down misinformation from the gas industry, to demonstrate the way to a smarter, cleaner and healthier future for all Australians.

See the benefits of living in a gas free home:


REPORT: Aim High, Go Fast: Why Emissions Need to Plummet this Decade

The Aim High, Go Fast report is a sobering reminder that any further delay to action on climate change will have devastating consequences for our lives, livelihoods and ecosystems. The report concludes that Australia should aim to reduce emissions by 75% below 2005 levels by 2030, and reach net zero emissions by 2035. 

First Nations Climate Justice Panel

Emergency Leaders for Climate Action and the Climate Council hold the First Nations Climate Justice Panel – a discussion on how First Nations communities are leading the fight for climate justice, and why First Nations voices must be centred in the national climate conversation. 

Watch the panel below, or click here to read and share our summary:


REPORT: Game, Set Match: Calling Time on Climate Inaction

This report highlights the impact of increasing heatwaves and extreme weather on local, national and international sporting codes – engaging new audiences by elevating the voices of Australian athletes concerned by the climate crisis.


REPORT: Hitting Home: The Compounding Costs of Climate Inaction

Following one of the most intense periods yet for climate-fuelled extreme weather, the Climate Council releases a report outlining how climate change is driving more destructive heatwaves, downpours, cyclones, and fires, and costing our economy billions.


Despite the COVID-19 pandemic dominating the news cycle, the Climate Council keeps climate change in the headlines. Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ELCA) are a source of authoritative climate information in the media, featuring over 78,000 times in traditional and social media over the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires.


REPORT: Passing Gas: Why Renewables are the Future

Gas is driving climate change. This report explores the Federal Government’s commitment to the gas industry, while exposing some of the biggest myths surrounding gas extraction, production and consumption in Australia.


Australian Bushfire and Climate Plan

The Australian Bushfire and Climate Plan, developed at the National Bushfire and Climate Summit 2020, outlines 165 recommendations for more effective bushfire readiness, response, and recovery. Many of these recommendations influence the outcomes of the Bushfire Royal Commission, including its acknowledgement that climate change is leading to more dangerous fire conditions.

Clean Jobs Plan

Clean Jobs Plan

The Climate Council releases its Clean Jobs Plan which identifies 12 major policy opportunities to create 76,000 clean, emissions-busting jobs across the nation, including in regional areas.

The Clean Jobs Plan goes on to influence over 50 strong policy outcomes on renewable energy and climate solutions from State and Territory Governments.


National Bushfire and Climate Summit

In response to the Black Summer bushfires, Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ELCA) hosts the 2020 National Bushfire and Climate Summit, bringing together more than 150 experts and community leaders, to share their experiences, and come up with ways to address the worsening risk of devastating bushfires fuelled by climate change.

Watch the highlights below, or click here to watch the full panel.


REPORT: Summer of Crisis

Summer of Crisis is the first comprehensive overview of how climate change fuelled Australia’s devastating Black Summer bushfires.


PM acknowledges link between climate change and fire conditions

The Climate Council’s work educating Australians on the link between climate change and extreme weather, including drought and bushfires, is instrumental in changing the public narrative around the Black Summer bushfires.
At a press conference, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he’s “always acknowledged”  the link between climate change and bushfires. 

According to research conducted in the aftermath of the bushfires, 49% of Black Summer articles discuss climate change, compared with only 5% of reporting of the Black Saturday fires in 2009.



ELCA meets with David Littleproud and Angus Taylor

Emergency Leaders for Climate Action travel to Canberra to meet with Minister David Littleproud and Minister Angus Taylor.


REPORT: State of Play: Renewable Energy Leaders and Losers

Climate Council’s 2019 report, State of Play: Renewable energy leaders and losers, finds that South Australia is winning the state and territory renewables race, with the ACT and Tasmania hot on its heels.


ELCA writes again to the PM

Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ELCA) writes again to the Prime Minister, asking why the Government has not yet given them a meeting.

REPORT: This is What Climate Change Looks Like

The Climate Council releases a visual report, This is what climate change looks like, highlighting recent examples of climate impacts on natural ecosystems and wildlife.


REPORT: Compound Costs: How Climate Change is Damaging Australia’s Economy

The Compound Costs report finds that there are few forces affecting the Australian economy that can match the scale, persistence and systemic risk associated with climate change.


Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ELCA) is formed

A group of 23 former emergency service leaders, led by former commissioner of NSW Fire and Rescue Greg Mullins, writes to the Federal Government, alerting it to the threat of “increasingly catastrophic extreme weather events” and calling on both major parties to recognise the need for “national firefighting assets”, including large aircraft, to deal with the scale of the threat. ELCA launches a joint statement in The Australian and The Age Newspapers.

Photo of ELCA leaders

REPORT: Climate Cuts, Cover-Ups and Censorship

This report provides a detailed overview of the Australian government’s approach to climate change since the election of the Liberal-National Coalition government in 2013 – a period characterised by slashing science funding, cutting effective climate change programs and a lack of credible climate policy.


REPORT: The Angriest Summer

This report finds the Angry Summer of 2018/19 has been characterised by prolonged, continental-wide heatwaves and record hot days, bushfires throughout Australia, and heavy rainfall and flooding in northern Queensland.


Fighting Back Against Misinformation

The Climate Council hits back against claims from the Federal Government that CO2 emissions are reducing, despite their own data at the time showing emissions on the rise. 28 experts in science, energy and other emitting sectors, sign our statement, directly funded by our community, and published in the Australian and the Financial Review.


5 years since the launch of the Climate Council and we have published over 100 peer-reviewed reports, had over 280,000 media hits generating over $100million worth of coverage on climate change. Our online community has grown to over 420,000 people since our launch. Over 2018, the Climate Council releases 17 reports and achieves over 2200 media mentions, reaching tens of thousands of Australians with important climate messages.


REPORT: A Renewable Feast

This report brings together a feast of renewable-powered food and drinks showcasing Australian growers and manufacturers who are using clean energy.


REPORT: Deluge and Drought: Australia’s Water Security in a Changing Climate

Deluge & Drought‘ finds that climate change is already significantly influencing water security in Australia, shifting rainfall patterns and increasing the severity of both droughts and floods.


REPORT: Powering Progress: States Renewable Energy Race

The Western Australian Government updates their climate policy to include a net zero emissions plan, in the wake of the States Renewable Energy Race report, where we single out Western Australia as the only state without a renewable energy or net zero emissions target.

REPORT: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Limiting Temperature Rise to 1.5C

To put into context what the latest IPCC report means for Australia, the Climate Council prepares its own report: The good, the bad and the ugly: Limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C. The report details how global temperatures have been rising rapidly, and Australia is one of the most vulnerable developed countries to the impacts of climate change, while contributing little to solutions.

Cities Power Partnership grows to over 100 Partner Councils


REPORT: Lethal Consequences: Climate Change Impacts on the Great Barrier Reef – Update 2018

This report shows the future survival of coral reefs around the world, including the Great Barrier Reef, depends on how deeply and swiftly greenhouse gas pollution levels are slashed over the coming years and decades.


Climate Council holds the Australian Energy Forum

The Climate Council’s Australian Energy Forum brings together twelve of Australia’s leading energy experts with 20 energy policy advisors representing every state and territory across Australia. The forum discusses the importance of strong emissions reductions targets in the context of the debate around the National Energy Guarantee.


REPORT: Icons at Risk: Climate Change Threatening Australian Tourism

Icons at risk: Climate Change is threatening Australian tourism report

This report drives home the impacts of climate change on some of Australia’s top natural tourist destinations, including the Great Barrier Reef, the Red Centre, the Top End, Beaches and our ski fields. 

Launched at Sydney’s iconic Manly Beach, the report generates a diverse range of media coverage, exposing the Climate Council to new audiences, while also attracting international media attention in countries including China, France and Pakistan.


2017 sees the Climate Council hit a significant media milestone: surpassing 20,000 media hits since the organisation’s launch in 2013 and featuring in over 3000 media items in 2017 alone. We take journalists on two media trips to help shape the national narrative about climate impacts and solutions. These trips are highly effective in conveying the severity of the impact of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef, as well as showcasing what a renewable energy future would look like by turning the lens to the solutions already being rolled out in California.


REPORT: Critical Decade 2017: Accelerating Climate Action

The ‘Critical Decade 2017: Accelerating Climate Action’ report shows Australia is highly vulnerable to many consequences of a changing climate, from worsening heatwaves, droughts and bushfires, to devastating coral reef bleaching, while most of the nation’s population centres are also highly exposed to sea level rise.


Responding to the National Energy Guarantee

The Climate Council opens up discussion about the NEG’s deficiencies, proposing an alternative set of policy principles for credible climate and energy policy, and continuing to highlight positive state and territory progress on renewable energy and storage. Our multi-tiered response strategy cut through the swathes of misinformation and made sure  the Australian public understood the difference between the NEG, and credible climate policy


Cities Power Partnership Launched

The Cities Power Partnership is launched with 35 trailblazing partner councils and soon becomes Australia’s largest network of towns and cities leading the way towards a thriving, net zero emissions future.

Photo of Cities Power Partnership Launch

California Media Imagination Project

The Climate Council held a media trip for Australian Journalists to California to help inform reporting on Australia’s clean energy future. ​​Half of California’s energy is set to come from renewables by 2030, and more people worked in the solar energy industry than in all the state’s investor-owned utilities combined. It also has a similar climate, economy and vulnerability to climate impacts to Australia, making it an ideal frame of reference for journalists. 

The trip generated extensive media coverage, including in the Australian Financial Review and Channel 10’s The Project.


REPORT: Risky Business: Health, Climate and Economic Risks of the Carmichael Mine

This report shows that if the Galilee Basin mine were a country, it would rank in the top 15 worst emitting nations in the world, and that any new thermal coal mines, particularly at that scale, is fundamentally at odds with protecting Australians from the impacts of climate change.


REPORT: Angry Summer 2016/17: Climate Change Super-Charging Extreme Weather

The “Angry Summer 2016/17: Climate Change Supercharging Extreme Weather” report shows summer temperatures have soared to unprecedented new heights, with capital cities such as Sydney experiencing its hottest summer on record.


2016 is a big year for the Climate Council, releasing 19 reports across topics including heat and health, coral reefs, storms, land carbon and rural & regional impacts. By mid-2016, three of the top five spokespeople communicating on climate change are from the Climate Council, and we are consistently the number one organisation communicating on climate change, featuring in over 2100 media articles through the year.


Fighting Misinformation About Renewables

After a one-in-50 year storm results in catastrophic damage to power infrastructure across South Australia, the Climate Council’s rapid mobilisation in response to debate over renewables dramatically changes the narrative.


REPORT: Land carbon: no substitute for action on fossil fuels

A Climate Council report finds that while increasing carbon in land systems is important, Australia is muddying the waters by combining land carbon and fossil fuel reduction policies – which is giving an inaccurate picture of Australia’s progress in tackling climate change.


REPORT: On the Frontline: climate change and rural communities

This report reveals that climate change is likely to worsen the systemic disadvantages suffered by rural and regional communities, and further widen the gap between rural and urban areas. It finds the increase in extreme weather events is disproportionately affecting those in rural areas, with serious social, health and economic impacts.


The Climate Council is well established as the expert voice on climate change, science and solutions in Australia

By mid 2016, the Climate Council consistently has three of the top five spokespeople communicating on climate change, and is consistently the #1 organisation communicating on climate change.


Unprecedented coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef

The Climate Council coordinates a significant media intervention in response to a mass coral bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef, with our work quoted in over 100 international publications. We release the report ‘Australia’s coral reefs under threat from climate change‘, and take out a full page ad in QLD’s Courier Mail, with a statement signed by 56 scientists, with a combined 1200 years of experience working on the reef.

REPORT: Australia’s coral reefs under threat from climate change

This report finds that rising global ocean temperatures, driven by climate change, has been the cause of an extremely severe bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef.

REPORT: Game On: The Australian Renewable Energy Race Heats Up

Our report card on the renewable energy progress of Australia’s states and territories finds South Australia and the ACT are acing the class, while NSW is lagging behind. The report grades Australia’s states on their renewable energy policy and performance across rooftop solar penetration, large-scale capacity per capita and percentage of renewable electricity.


REPORT:The Silent Killer: climate change and the health impacts of extreme heat

The Silent Killer: Climate Change and the Health Impacts of Extreme Heat report finds that although many states have taken significant steps to upgrade their heat and health warning systems since the deadly heatwaves of 2009, strategies vary considerably from state to state and focus primarily on reactive, rather than long-term planning.


The Climate Council continues to ramp up its impact across Australia, releasing a joint statement, two briefing papers and 15 reports throughout the year, on topics including carbon budgets, the renewable energy boom, drought, the Carmichael coal mine and food and farming. Over the year, the Climate Council has over 2300 media hits conveying key messages about climate change right around the country.


Climate Council sends delegation to COP21 in Paris

Climate Council reporting on the COP21 conference reaches 11.2 million people, with media coverage worth more than $3.1m, setting the tone for how the Paris climate conference is understood back home in Australia. The Climate Council releases the report ‘A Whole New World, Tracking the Renewable Energy Boom from Copenhagen to Paris’.

See what our team on the ground have to say:

REPORT: The Burning Issue: climate change and the Australian Bushfire Threat

The Burning Issue: Climate Change and the Australian Bushfire Threat finds the length of the fire season has increased by almost 19% globally between 1978 and 2013. Longer fire seasons are reducing opportunities for controlled burning and intensifying pressure on firefighting resources.


The Climate Council Hosts the ‘Australian Climate Security Summit’

Thirty of Australia’s leading minds from Defence, academia, policy think tanks and other government bodies join together for discussions for Australia’s first climate security summit. The summit results in the inclusion of stronger language regarding climate change in the February Defence White paper, as well as an unprecedented public acknowledgement of climate change by Australia’s Chief of Army.


Climate Media Centre Launches

The Climate Media Centre localises and personalises climate change impacts and solutions for Australians by connecting journalists with powerful stories about the people and places affected by climate change, as well as the inspiring tales of those taking action to fix things.


REPORT: Climate Change 2015: Growing Risks, Critical choices

Released halfway through the Critical Decade for climate action and four years after the release of the Climate Commission report, Critical Decade: Climate science, risks and responses, Climate Change 2015 finds that the risks of climate change for our wellbeing now look more serious, strengthening the case for urgent action.


Key information from Climate Council Reports has now reached 6 Million People!


REPORT: Unburnable Carbon: why we need to leave fossil fuels in the ground

This report reveals that the pollution from Australia’s coal resources, particularly the enormous Galilee coal basin, could take us two-thirds of the way to a two degree rise in global temperature.


The Climate Council features in over 2300 media items over 2014, including coverage of the 17 reports published throughout the year, across topics including heat waves, international action, bushfires, electricity and coastal flooding. Important foundations are laid for our ongoing work, and the Climate Council is established as an expert voice on climate science and impacts in Australia.


REPORT: The Australian Renewable Energy Race: which states are winning or losing?

This report is the first of our state renewable energy race reports, released annually, comparing state and territory uptake of renewable energy and targets to spur on state based climate action.

Increase in number of Australians that understand the link between climate change and extreme weather

Essential Media finds that 76% of people think that climate change and extreme weather are linked (compared to 52% in January, 2014).


REPORT: Lagging Behind: Australia and the Global Response to Climate Change

This report compares Australia’s action on climate change to the rest of the world in relation to reducing emissions and renewable energy, including the actions taken by some of the world’s largest economies such as China, the US and EU.

REPORT: Counting the costs: climate change and coastal flooding

A landmark report exploring coastal flooding: the sleeping giant of climate change risks. The report outlines how sea level has already rise and continues to rise du to climate change.


REPORT: Australia’s Electricity Sector: Ageing, Inefficient and Unprepared

Australia’s Electricity Sector: Ageing, Inefficient and Unprepared investigates the future of Australia’s electricity sector.


REPORT: Heatwaves: Hotter, Longer, More Often

This report finds that climate change is already increasing the intensity and frequency of heatwaves in Australia. Heatwaves are becoming hotter, lasting longer and occurring more often, with hot weather in Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra reaching predicted for 2030.


REPORT: The Angry Summer

The first in a series of ‘Angry Summer’ summer reports, this report provides a summary of extreme weather conditions in the 2013/2014 summer, illuminating a continuing trend of hotter summers and more weather extremes in Australia



REPORT: Be Prepared: Climate Change and the Australian Bushfire Threat

Climate Councillors, Professors Lesley Hughes and Will Steffen, release one of the Climate Council’s first major reports, kickstarting our work educating the public and decision-makers on the relationship between climate change and extreme weather – a topic that will grow to be a core pillar of our work.


Climate Council launches in record-breaking crowdfunding campaign

16,000 people chip in over $1.1 million in just ten days to launch the Climate Council in the biggest Australian crowdfunding campaign of its time – bringing our independent voice for climate science, solutions and action to life.

Independent and community-funded from day one, the Climate Council is powered by everyday Australians. Chip in a tax-deductible donation today to scale up our impact.