It’s a simple equation. To protect the people, places and wildlife we love from the impacts of climate change, we must significantly slash pollution this decade.

In Australia, the biggest driver of emissions is digging, burning and exporting coal and gas. To stop it, we must join together to make our voices louder than the polluters and compel our elected representatives to step up and slash pollution now.

Across Australia, these are the five key opportunities for us to speak up and show up to effect real change for a safe future in 2023:

A stronger safeguard mechanism

A stronger what now?

The Safeguard Mechanism is an Abbott Government-era policy that puts a cap on how much Australia’s biggest polluters can pollute. Or at least that’s the idea. In the Safeguard Mechanism’s first five years, emissions from gas and oil mining in Australia ballooned by 20%.

Now in 2023, the Albanese Government is reforming the Safeguard Mechanism. It’s a big deal because it’ll decide whether Australia meets its 43% emissions reduction target by 2030.

Disappointingly, the government’s draft reforms have loopholes that allow big polluters like Woodside and Santos to pay to keep polluting and avoid actually cutting emissions from their polluting facilities.

The next two months are critical. With our urging, the Prime Minister can make the Safegaurd Mechanism stronger – so that Australia’s biggest polluters actually cut emissions at their facilities, not on paper.

Here’s how you can take action:

No more public money for coal and gas

Polluting smoke stacks


The federal government allocates more public money for fossil fuels than they do for public schools. In dollar terms, our federal and state governments are handing over more than $22,000 every minute to polluting coal, gas and oil companies.

We simply can’t afford to spend public money propping up the industries most responsible for climate change.

The May federal budget is a critical opportunity for the Albanese Government to turn off the money tap for fossil fuels, and fund climate solutions instead. What our government chooses will tell us a lot about its commitment to climate action.

Add your name to the petition to stop public money for coal and gas.

Add your name

No new coal and gas

For Australia to do its bit and help keep a 1.5 degrees temperature rise within reach, which will avert the worst climate impacts, we simply must not open new polluting coal and gas projects.

Digging, burning and exporting coal and gas is the biggest driver of climate damage. A lot of new coal and gas projects will dig up the polluting fuels and send them overseas – but no matter where they are burnt, coal and gas drive climate damage like extreme fires and floods back here at home, as well as overseas.

Right now Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek is reconsidering 19 new coal and gas proposals. Whatever the Minister’s decision, it will be a pivotal opportunity for everyday people to raise their voices for no new coal and gas.

Raise your voice today and sign the petition to end coal and gas in Australia this decade.

Sign petition

Taking Woodside to federal court

Woodside’s Scarborough gas project is one of the dirtiest new fossil fuel projects currently planned in Australia.

Thanks to generous donations from our community, ACF is taking Woodside, Australia’s largest polluting gas company, to federal court to seek an injunction on the commencement of works on the Scarborough Gas Project.

ACF wants to set an important climate law precedent – that the Federal Environment Minister must consider the climate impacts of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from fossil fuel projects on matters protected by the national environmental law.

Donate today to help us go face-to-face with Woodside in Federal Court.

Donate today

Replace coal and gas exports with renewable exports

Right now Australia is the world’s biggest exporter of coal and LNG which stands for liquified natural gas (gas that has been cooled into a liquid for easier transport). When the coal and LNG dug up in Australia are burnt overseas, it makes up a whopping 5% of global emissions.

Replacing coal and LNG exports with renewable exports is the biggest contribution Australia can make to cutting pollution globally.

But what are renewable exports? They include:

  • sending renewable energy to other countries (via undersea cable or hydrogen)
  • shipping out the technology and critical minerals needed to make solar panels, battery storage and more
  • and exporting important metals like steel and aluminium that are made with clean energy, not fossil fuels

As countries decarbonise their economies, the demand for renewable exports is set to skyrocket.

With Australia’s abundant sun and wind and skilled workforce we are uniquely positioned to take advantage. If we act now, Australia can become a world leader in renewable exports. But acting fast is critical. If and only if we get ahead of the queue, we can create thousands of jobs in future industries and establish a new $89 billion industry in the next 20 years – all while slashing climate pollution for a safer future.

Take the renewable exports quiz to learn more about this important climate solution. 

Join the movement

People hold up 'Climate Action Now' signs at rally

Photo: Julian Meehan

Together we can achieve strong climate action this year. Be part of the change – join more than half a million people in the ACF community or find and join your local community group.

The more of us who speak up, the more we can accomplish.

Australian Conservation Foundation