Looking back at 2023

19.12.23 By

The climate crisis has continued to intensify this year, underscoring the urgent need to rapidly cut pollution. We have seen harrowing weather extremes across the world, and more records broken as the year progressed, including the confirmation that 2023 was indeed the hottest year ever recorded globally. 

However, 2023 has also seen waves of momentum in the steps needed to fix the situation, with many nations and parts of our economy doing more and aiming higher. 

As the year draws to a close, join us in celebrating some of Australia’s top climate wins in 2023, as we continue to positively influence the national conversation on climate change, and pressure decision-makers to take necessary climate action. 

Top 10 climate wins for Australia:

1. Australia smashed renewable energy records.

Roughly one in three Australian households, more than 3.6m homes, now use rooftop solar to generate their energy. In South Australia, the most advanced state for rooftop solar, the proportion is nearly 50%.

2. Australia rejoined a climate fund for those in need.

The Green Climate Fund is the world’s largest dedicated fund to help vulnerable nations cope with the impacts of an overheated planet. Australia signed up to the fund in 2015 under the Coalition Government and contributed about $187 million until then Prime Minister Scott Morrison withdrew from it in 2018.

3. More than 100,000 electric cars are now registered in Australia.

Electric vehicle sales made up almost one in 10 new car sales so far this year, which is more than double where we were in 2022!

4. Australia signed the world’s first treaty to protect the high seas.

The treaty aims to deliver stronger protections for the ocean and is seen as a crucial step in global efforts to fully protect 30% of the world’s land and sea under full protection by the end of the decade.

5. It was lights out for another ageing coal-fired power station.

After 52 years of operation, the last units of the outdated Liddell power station in New South Wales were closed, with clean, cheap renewable energy picking up the load. The closure has significantly improved the region’s air quality – equivalent to taking 110,000 cars off the road.

6. Victoria + ACT committed to make all new homes and public buildings gas free.

Gas is a dirty, polluting fossil fuel that’s dangerous to our health and the health of our planet. So this is a huge win.

7. Plans are underway for new offshore wind farms in Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania.

These are the first of six proposed offshore wind zones being set up around the country that will provide clean and near-constant energy, spark new job opportunities in our regions, and help pave the way for a healthier future.

8. Clive Palmer’s proposal to build a large new coal mine in Australia was officially blocked because of the damage it would inflict on the Great Barrier Reef.

Hard to believe, but that’s the FIRST time in Australian history that a coal mine has been refused under national environmental laws. If we strengthen our environment law (as the Climate Council is advocating for) it will be the first of many to be knocked back.

9. Yarra, VIC, became home to Australia’s first urban community battery.

The battery stores excess power from solar panels and feeds it back to the neighbourhood at night.

10. Oh, and – Tim Tams went renewable.

Arnotts secured a deal with the Queensland government to secure a power supply for the group’s huge manufacturing plant in Virginia, Brisbane, using renewable energy from wind and solar.

Wow, it’s been a big year! 

Alongside all of this, the Climate Council (with YOUR backing) has been pushing for major policy outcomes, influencing the national media conversation, and creating the conditions for the massive greenhouse gas emission cuts that we need to see this decade. 

Here’s what we’re most proud of this year:

  1. We fought hard to make sure reform of the Safeguard Mechanism policy – one of the biggest opportunities for genuine emissions reduction in Australia of the past decade – was as strong as possible. Watch our video explaining the outcome here.
  1. We educated Australians on the dirty truth behind gas, and the health and financial benefits of having an all electric home. Hear from Sarah Wilson on the benefits of going electric here.
  1. We drove home the benefits of cleaning up our polluting transport system and making sure we prioritise moving people, not cars. Watch our video explaining how we can move away from single use cars here. 
  1. Thousands of Aussies joined our call to make sure our national environment law is updated to consider climate change and its impacts so that it can adequately protect our treasured natural places.  Join them by adding your name here.
  1. Alongside Aussie icons, we advocated to stop polluting fossil fuel giants from sponsoring our beloved sports, arts and events. Read more here. 
  1. We used our platforms to call out greenwashing by big corporations. Find our submission here.
  1. We warned governments to prepare for a potentially devastating fire season ahead. Find our media release here. 
  1. We worked with leading ocean scientists to call out the existential threat that climate change poses for our oceans. Read the full report.
  1. We shone a light on the mental health toll that climate disasters are having on Australians; in partnership with Beyond Blue. Read the heartwrenching stories here. 

  1. And we empowered many other incredible people to share their stories of climate impacts or solutions through the work of the Climate Media Centre.

Thanks to our community – you made all this possible! 

In fact, you have made everything we’ve achieved over the past 10 YEARS of the Climate Council possible – thank you for celebrating our 10th birthday with us in 2023. Watch the video here

Over the past decade, we have climbed the first mountain, which was developing the public and political will for change. Now we need to climb the second mountain, together – securing pollution cuts in line with science, pushing for evidence-based policies to meet them, and securing bigger climate commitments, like no new coal and gas.

Time really flies when you’re busy pushing for a better future! We’ve spent the past decade fighting for change, and couldn’t have done any of it without you. Thank you for sticking with us every step of the way. Here’s to another decade together. 

Find our full impact statement for the 22/23 financial year here.

Find out how you can make an impact in 2024 and commit to climate resolutions here.