Policies, measures and actions on climate change and
environmental protection in the context of COVID-19 recovery.
Last update 30 Mar. 2021
- Emergency measures in the short term (a few months to one year) to address concerns that have directly emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic and may include forced action.
- Socioeconomic measures in the medium term (one to a few years) with an environmental and climate focus to “build back better” from COVID-19, and usually involves planned, intentional action.
- Paradigm shifts and measures in the long term (more than a few years to a few decades) toward redesigning current socioeconomic and sociocultural systems to be sustainable and resilient.
1.Climate mitigation measures
Technological innovation (digitalization / hydrogen/ CCUS‚ etc.)RecoveryNational Hydrogen Strategy: Development of a hydrogen certificate scheme; continuing to build international hydrogen partnerships and engagement; reviews of hydrogen use in Australian gas networks and hydrogen legal frameworks; commencement of a National Hydrogen Infrastructure Assessment; and continued support for pilots, trials and demonstrations.Contact Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
Technological innovation (digitalization / hydrogen/ CCUS‚ etc.)RecoveryTechnology Investment Roadmap: Implementation of Australia’s first Low Emissions Technology Statement and development of the second Statement to guide the Government’s low emissions technology investment portfolio.Contact Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
Technological innovation (digitalization / hydrogen/ CCUS‚ etc.)RecoverySpecial Adviser on Low Emissions Technology: In January 2021, Dr Alan Finkel – Australia’s former Chief Scientist – was appointed as Special Advisor to the Australian Government on Low Emissions Technology. High level engagement to support Australia’s technology-driven emissions reduction strategy and expand collaboration on low emissions technology with trade and strategic partners.Contact Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
Transition to renewable energyRecoverySnowy 2.0: Delivering the expansion of the Snowy Hydro Scheme with Snowy 2.0, to support the transition to reliable renewable energy.Reference https://www.energy.gov.au/sites/default/files/snowy_2.0-making_power_more_affordable_and_reliable.pdfContact Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
Transition to renewable energyRecoveryOffshore renewable energy: Progressing development of a regulatory framework to enable the construction, operation and decommissioning of offshore renewable energy (including offshore wind farms) and associated infrastructure in Commonwealth waters; beyond three nautical miles from the coast out into Australia’s exclusive economic zone.Reference https://consult.industry.gov.au/offshore-exploration/offshore-clean-energy-infrastructure/Contact Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
Technological innovation (digitalization / hydrogen/ CCUS‚ etc.)RecoveryCCS: Continued support for a number of CCS demonstration projects, including: the CarbonNet Project, Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies Otway research facility and the National Geosequestration Laboratory.Contact Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
Sustainable transportationRecoveryVehicles: Development of a national strategy to enable choice for consumers across all types of future fuels, including for electric vehicles, hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.Contact Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
Transition to renewable energyRecoveryTransmission: Support for the Marinus Link HVDC interconnector between Tasmania and Victoria, which will unlock a pipeline of investment in renewable energy and technology projects, further enabling the transition to reliable renewable energy.Contact Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
Transition to renewable energyRecoveryFinance: Support through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to unlock investment in clean energy technologies.Contact Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
2.Climate adaptation measures
Adaptation planningRecoveryClimate Compass: a climate risk management framework designed to help Australian public servants manage the risks from the changing climate to policies, programs and asset management. It includes step by step instructions, guidance and information to develop an understanding of climate change risks. Climate Compass builds on the best climate change adaptation research and science over the past decade. Climate Compass reflects the current leading practice in guidance for climate risk management and planning for long-term, uncertain, pervasive change.Reference https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/1f56cd3f-dd0f-4f4e-9f14-66ceca36125b/files/climate-compass-climate-risk-management-framework-commonwealth-agencies.pdfContact Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Agr/food securityRecoveryNational Landcare Program: 1 billion AUD National Landcare Program over six years to June 2023, contributes towards sustainable agricultural outcomes including improving soil, biodiversity and vegetation, and increasing the capacity of our farms to adapt to climate change and evolving market demands.Reference http://www.nrm.gov.auContact Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Agr/food securityRecoveryFuture Drought Fund: The 5 billion AUD Future Drought Fund provides secure, continuous funding for drought resilience initiatives. It will help Australian farms and communities prepare for the impacts of drought.Contact Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
OthersRecoveryEmissions Reduction Fund: The Emissions Reduction Fund is a voluntary scheme that provides incentives for industry, businesses, land owners, state and local governments, and other organisations to adopt new practices and technologies to reduce emissions across the economy. Participants can earn Australian carbon credit units for every tonne of emissions reduced or stored through a project. Businesses can sell carbon credits to generate income, to the Australian government through an auction, and/or on the voluntary market. Some of the emissions reduction methods under the Fund encourage storing carbon in the landscape, for example through revegetation, reforestation and changed soil management practices. In Northern Australia, Indigenous land owners and pastoralists earn carbon credits by implementing better fire management in savanna landscapes. As at 31 December 2020, more than 88 million carbon credits had been issued to over 900 registered projects from across Australia.Reference https://publications.industry.gov.au/publications/climate-change/climate-change/government/emissions-reduction-fund.htmlContact Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
OthersRecoveryThe National Soil Strategy including an Interim Commonwealth Action Plan will be delivered as part of the 21/22 Budget. The National Soil Strategy will include practical actions and focus on the development of a national monitoring program to assess the condition of Australian soils, research and development, and capacity building and extensionContact Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
OthersResponse RecoveryThe Australian Government is continuing to deliver on its commitment to provide reliable, secure and affordable energy to all Australians as part of our Economic Recovery Plan for Australia. This includes 52.2 million AUD to improve energy efficiency, lower bills and deliver abatement, with 24 million AUD of that package to fund building upgrades and reduce energy costs for community groups and for small and medium hotels.
These 2020-21 Budget initiatives build on the range of energy efficiency policies and programs that support industry and households to reduce energy costs and improve productivity. As part of the 3.5 billion AUD Climate Solution Package:
• 21.4 million AUD for building energy efficiency measures, which includes providing information and upskilling training to enable consumers and industry to deliver low and zero energy ready homes and commercial buildings. This includes releasing a series of training resources to support the industry and capitalise on any downtime due to COVID-19.
• 40 million AUD of grants through the Energy Efficient Communities Program to assist businesses and community organisations to invest in energy efficient practices and technologies, and reduce their power bills.
• 11.7 million AUD Business Energy Advice Program which delivers trusted advice to help small businesses and their representatives get better energy deals and increase their energy efficiency.
• Funding is also supporting further work on energy rating labels on appliances and equipment, to allow consumers to compare the running costs of different models and the financial savings of buying a more efficient appliance.Reference https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/bb29bc9f-8b96-4b10-84a0-46b7d36d5b8e/files/climate-solutions-package.pdf
https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-06/Fact_sheet_HomeBuilder_0.pdfContact Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
4.Other environmental measures
Measures related to ecosystem services / biodiversity / land use / agricultureRecovery RedesignEnvironment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 Review: The Final Report for the independent review of the EPBC Act has now been released, and the Government will work through the full detail of the recommendations with stakeholders. The Government is committed to reforming environmental approvals processes, which will enable enable Australian states and territories to carry out environmental assessments and approvals on behalf of the Australian Government. These new ‘single touch’ approvals will be underpinned by new National Environmental Standards. This commitment is supported by the National Cabinet.Contact Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Measures related to ecosystem services / biodiversity / land use / agricultureResponse RecoveryInvestment in National Parks: $233 million investment into Parks Australia to deliver infrastructure upgrades across national parks and at the Australian National Botanic Gardens. New and improved infrastructure means more tourism, more jobs and better outcomes for Australians living in regional and remote areas to respond to the economic challenges of COVIDReference https://parksaustralia.gov.au/news/record-investment-in-parks-australia/
New and improved infrastructure means more tourism, more jobs and better outcomes for Australians living in regional and remote areas, which is vital as we move through the economic challenges of COVID
Contact Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Waste management and Circular economy / sustainable production and consumptionResponseRelief for oil recovery sector: This initiative provided from 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2020 7.8 million AUD to temporarily increase the benefit paid to oil recyclers under the Product Stewardship Oil Scheme. This will initiative supported an industry severely affected by COVID-19, and supported the continued collection and re-refining of waste oil.Reference https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/more-funding-support-australias-oil-recycling-industryContact Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Waste management and Circular economy / sustainable production and consumptionRedesignRecycling Modernisation Fund: Australia's waste and recycling industry is being transformed by the Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF) which will generate 600 million AUD of recycling investment from Australian Government, state and territory governments and industry investments.Reference https://www.environment.gov.au/protection/waste/how-we-manage-waste/recycling-modernisation-fundContact Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
OthersRecoveryPacific engagement: Collaborative outreach and engagement with Pacific Island countries to communicate the key findings of the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report applicable to the region and highlight opportunities for action. The activity will be implemented in consultation with regional stakeholders, and delivered in partnership with the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, and the Australian National University.Contact Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
COVID19 recovery and climate change mitigationResponse RecoveryInternational Solar Alliance: DFAT is supporting the International Solar Alliance to expand its ISA Cares program into its Pacific member states. This program seeks to enhance healthcare centres' electricity access and the reliability of the supply by deploying solar energy solutions.Contact Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
COVID19 recovery and climate change mitigationRecoveryGlobal Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases: The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) will Chair the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases from March 2021. DFAT is supporting ACIAR to use its term as Chair to deepen the GRA's engagement in the Indo-Pacific and enhance the region's agricultural productivity and resilience.Reference https://aciar.gov.au/Contact Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
COVID19 recovery and climate change adaptationResponse RecoveryClimate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific: DFAT is investing in the Climate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific (COSPPac), which supports collection, analysis and communication of climate, oceans and sea level data, including for key economic sectors. The program is now focussing on COVID recovery by applying rainfall forecasts to support planning in agriculture, water, infrastructure, and renewable energy. Rainfall and temperature predictions help farmers plan for planting and harvesting, and prepare for disasters like droughts and tropical cyclones. Ocean predictions (tide, currents, wind and waves) support community activities (e.g. fishing, tourism and shipping - e.g. route planning to minimise delays and fuel costs).Reference http://cosppac.bom.gov.au/Contact Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
COVID19 recovery and climate change adaptationResponse RecoveryWomen’s Weather Watch through ActionAid in Vanuatu and FEMLINK in Fiji: DFAT is supporting Women’s Weather Watch through ActionAid in Vanuatu and FEMLINK in Fiji; a female-led early warning system for disasters and weather outlooks, which now disseminates health information to respond to COVID-19.Contact Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
COVID19 recovery and climate change mitigationRecoveryAustralia will invest at least 1.5 billion AUD over 2020 to 2025 as announced by the Prime Minister in 2020 to support developing countries to tackle climate change, a 50 percent increase on our previous pledge. This includes Australia’s 500 million AUD investment in the Pacific to support renewable energy deployment and climate and disaster resilience
Australia has adopted a Climate Change Action Strategy to guide the integration of climate change through our development assistance program. It has three objectives:
• support partner countries to adapt to climate change, and to plan, prepare for and respond to climate-related impacts
• promote the shift to lower-emissions development in the Indo-Pacific region
• support innovative solutions to climate change, including those that engage private sector investment.
Australia’s development program has pivoted to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in accordance with Partnerships for Recovery: Australia’s COVID-19 Development Response.Reference https://www.dfat.gov.au/about-us/publications/climate-change-action-strategy
https://www.dfat.gov.au/geo/pacific/development-assistance/resilience-pacific-regionalContact Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
COVID19 recovery and other environmental issuesRecoveryAustralia provides core funding to the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). SPREP supports Pacific island countries to protect and improve their environment, and to ensure sustainable development for present and future generations. During COVID-19, SPREP is continuing to deliver services remotely through technical advice and support, until it is safe to conduct in-country consultations, program and project work.Reference https://www.sprep.org/Contact Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
COVID19 recovery and climate change mitigationRecoveryAustralia is investing in critical climate resilient infrastructure projects that will contribute to economic recovery in the Pacific by maximising local content and promoting local job creation. Our 2 billion AUD Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP) will fund critical climate resilient infrastructure projects and already has renewable energy projects in the works (PNG Markham Valley solar plant; Solomon Islands Tina River hydropower transmission station).Reference https://www.aiffp.gov.au/Contact Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
OthersRecoveryDelivered through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Governance for Resilient Development in the Pacific (Gov4Res) is working with Pacific island governments to ‘risk-inform’ development financing and planning mechanisms so that countries can better ‘leverage’ development financing for climate-resilient development - which is increasingly important due to the economic impacts of COVID-19. The program has worked with Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu, and is now expanding to other countries.Reference https://www.pacific.undp.org/content/pacific/en/home/learnmore.html?tagid=topics%3Aclimate-change-and-drr%2Frisk-governanceContact Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
COVID19 recovery and climate change adaptationResponse RecoveryBlue carbon programs: The Australian Government is delivering two blue carbon programs; one in Indonesia (2 million AUD) and one in the Pacific (6 million AUD) from 2019-2022. Both programs aim to:
• advance protection and restoration of coastal blue carbon ecosystems for climate action
• address barriers to blue carbon management
• strengthen blue carbon expertise and data
• support integration of blue carbon into national greenhouse gas accounting and climate policy, and
• encourage public and private sector investmentContact Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
COVID19 recovery and climate change adaptationResponse RecoveryGlobal Forest Observations Initiative: Australia plays a leading role in the Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI), a global partnership for coordinating the delivery of international support in forest monitoring to address developing country needs. Accurate measurements are the bedrock of effective forest policies supporting climate action.
• Australia has led the development of comprehensive user-friendly methodological guidance since the GFOI’s inception in 2011. The recently-launched third edition of the Methods and Guidance Document (MGD), ensures the ability of countries to comply with the recent refinement of IPCC best practice, and all known UNFCCC reporting and transparency requirements.
Reference https://publications.industry.gov.au/publications/climate-change/climate-change/government/international/land-emissions.htmlContact Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Burkina Faso
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- The European Commission
- The Marshall Islands
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- The Philippines
- Republic of Korea
- San Marino
- Sao Tome and Principe
- The United Kingdom