Last updated 14 September 2020

Climate change (or global warming) due to human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels producing greenhouse gases, is now recognised as a major environmental threat by all levels of government.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 1992 provides a broad framework for international action to combat climate change.

The Kyoto Protocol was created under the convention to provide a more detailed agreement on reductions in greenhouse gases during 2008–2012.

The Paris Agreement was signed in 2015 with the objective of keeping global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Australia has responded to the need to reduce its emissions with a number of laws and many programs.

The National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 (Cth) provides a national framework for large greenhouse gas emitters, energy producers and energy consumers to report their emissions, energy production and energy consumption. However, there is no charge imposed on emissions by that Act.

The carbon price, imposed on domestic carbon emissions under the Clean Energy Act 2011 (Cth) (no longer in force) was repealed and replaced in 2014 by the Emissions Reduction Fund, which pays polluters to reduce their emissions but does not impose a price on carbon pollution.

The Queensland Government had a wide range of policies and initiatives to respond to climate change, however, most of these been wound back in recent years such as by removing the feed-in tariff for solar power from homes.