Nations are currently gathered in Dubai for the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) for critical conversations on how to slow global warming. 

Before flying back home, there are three critical things that Australia and our delegation led by Climate Minister Chris Bowen must do:

1. Commit to ending handouts for international coal, gas and oil

Australia must commit to no government handouts for international coal, gas and oil projects.

The United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany have all signed on to the Glasgow Statement, also known as the Clean Energy Transition Partnership, and committed to stop spending public money on climate-wrecking coal, gas and oil overseas.

But our signature has been missing now for over two years.

Our Pacific neighbours are pleading for us to sign on. Every day, rising sea levels and climate-fuelled storms knock on the shorelines of communities in Kiribati, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and across the Pacific.

“Australia, as our big sister in the Pacific, must listen when we say there can be no more investment in fossil fuels if Pacific communities like mine are to survive”, says ActionAid Vanuatu’s Flora Vano.

Signing on and ruling out government money for international coal, gas and oil is a no-brainer. There are so many better ways for Australia to spend money.

2. Get tough on methane

At COP28, Australia is also facing pressure to turn its pledge to reduce methane emissions into an actual plan.

Methane is a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide. The UN says tackling methane is the most effective way to slow climate change.

Alarmingly, we don't know how much methane Australia's big polluters like Woodside and Santos are unleashing on our climate. Large amounts of methane are leaking out of coal mines and gas wells and going unreported. We must invest in proper measurement and accounting of methane emissions and establish a clear plan to slash it.

The United States has a plan to slash methane emissions, China has a plan, but Australia has no plan. With so much chatter about methane at COP28, pressure is high for Australia to lift its game.

3. Don't fall for climate distractions

An alarming trend at COP is the growing presence of the dirty coal, gas, oil and nuclear lobbies trying to stall progress, so they can profit from polluting fuels for longer.

This includes the World Nuclear Association and other pro-nuclear voices who’ve poured significant money and effort into selling nuclear as a counterfeit climate response at COP28.

Some voices are arguing for Australia to embrace ‘next generation’ nuclear, including the heavily promoted small modular reactors, which are unproven and not in commercial deployment anywhere in the world.

The reality is that nuclear technology is too slow, too risky and too costly.

Meanwhile, renewable energy is safe, proven, popular, cheaper and far more deployable.

We need to create lots of clean energy now so we can reduce emissions fast. Nuclear is a pipedream, a climate distraction that will only delay us from stopping extreme heat, fires, floods and droughts from getting worse.

The reality is that nuclear technology is too slow, too risky and too costly.

Send the pre-filled letter to Australia's Climate Change Minister now, urging him to:

  • end international coal, gas and oil handouts
  • get tough on methane
  • and not fall for climate distractions!

send pre-filled letter

We must create a safe climate so all living things can thrive for generations to come. Together, let’s push for climate action that is fast and fair.


Elizabeth Sullivan

Climate Campaigner – Exports