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Mapping a Laggard: Climate Policy Networks in Australia

Sat, September 1, 9:00 to 10:30am, ICC, E5.3


As a resource-rich country, Australia is heavily dependent on coal and gas: ninety percent of electricity is produced by fossil fuels and energy accounts for a third of commodity exports. The Australian Government has been a persistent laggard in climate policy. In 1997 Australia was one of three industrialised societies to negotiate a rise in emissions as part of its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. More recently the Australian Government has strongly promoted Australia as an energy export platform, especially for coal and gas. In climate policy Australia now bucks the global trend: in 2015 the Grantham Institute’s Global Climate Legislation Survey described Australia as ‘the first developed country to take a legislative step back from acting on climate change’. This paper investigates what is distinctive about Australia’s climate policy-making networks, to help explain its stance. The paper reports on an Australian component of the 18-country ‘Comparing Climate Policy Networks’ study. It analyses the results of survey and interview-based research in order to map the main influences on Australian climate policy-making. The paper compares these results with parallel investigations in other countries, seeking to account for variation.