Where to give to combat climate change: Australian policy change

Introduction


Australia’s emissions reduction targets and policies are not in line with its responsibility to address the climate crisis. Australia is a major emitter and the world’s third largest fossil fuel exporter (and number one for coal and gas exports). There has been a distinct lack of climate policy leadership at a federal level since the election of the Liberal-National Coalition Government in 2013.



The majority of Australians want the Government to do more to address climate change, but aren’t sure what they can do about it.


Australia has well over one hundred organisations working to accelerate climate action, and Giving Green is helping donors discern where to direct their support to have the greatest impact.


Research process


Our research has focussed on organisations that are trying to improve climate policy in Australia. Effective policy has consistently proven to be a key driver of the technological, human, business and industry behaviour changes needed to address the climate crisis.


The Giving Green Australia: 2021 Research Process details how we identified the highest impact organisations working to improve climate policy in Australia. The process involved expert interviews, an expert survey, focus groups, and desk research. We focused on organisations using three key approaches that our research determined are the highest priority for delivering policy change:


  • Insider advocacy: lobbying and other forms of insider influence designed to change government policy from within;

  • Outsider advocacy: applying external pressure to change government policy; and

  • Changing the story: identifying and scaling messages and messengers that increase pro-climate literacy, concern and behaviour change.

We narrowed the list further by considering which organisations could have the most impact with extra funding. In general, we believe that smaller organisations can make the most use of the marginal dollar, and therefore we excluded large organisations that we believed were effective but also well-funded.


The three organisations we have recommended received the highest number of nominations by the 52 climate policy experts we surveyed, have demonstrated their effectiveness in impacting climate policy, and would deliver substantial returns from additional marginal investment.


Our recommendations


We are pleased to recommend the following organisations (in alphabetical order):


  • Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE): an independent think-tank which promotes net zero pathways to unlock economic opportunities for emissions-intensive industries and regional communities. BZE’s ideas are already gaining traction with regional communities, emissions-intensive industries, and state and federal governments from both sides of politics. For more information, please see our BZE overview and deep dive.


  • Farmers for Climate Action (FCA): organises farmers, graziers and agriculturalists to lead climate solutions on-farm and advocate together for stronger climate policy. Despite being a relatively new organisation, FCA has proven to have significant influence on climate policies at the state and federal level. For more information, please review our FCA overview and deep dive.


  • Original Power: supports Australia’s First Nations communities to self-determine what happens on their country – whether that be to protect their country from a fossil fuel development, or support a community owned renewable energy project or climate adaptation solution. Original Power also works to ensure Australia’s First Nations people play a central role in Australia’s renewable energy boom: harnessing its economic and employment opportunities; fostering local clean energy projects; and advocating for reform of regulatory barriers. For more information, please review our Original Power overview and deep dive.


We have not prioritised our top organisations because it is difficult to rank highly-promising organisations and their work against one another with a high degree of precision. Our recommended organisations also use different theories of change for shifting climate policy, which each have evidence-based arguments for their assumptions. Rather than taking a stand on which of these theories of change is most likely to hold, we provide donation options across different types of organisation.


Giving to support Giving Green’s operations


As a nonprofit organisation, Giving Green relies on donations from its readers. If you appreciate our research and would like to support our operations, you can donate to us here. Donations to Giving Green help us grow as an organisation and support our research and communications


Questions? Want to collaborate? Please reach out at givinggreen@idinsight.org.