FIVE YEARS ago, the Climate Council was born out of the largest crowdfunding campaign in Australian history. This month, the independent not-for-profit celebrates its fifth birthday and all of its achievements thanks to the donations from Australians demanding action on climate change.
"The first act of the Abbott Government was to sack the Climate Commission which had been providing accurate information on climate change to the public," said former Chief Commissioner turned Chief Climate Councillor Professor Tim Flannery.
"But, like a phoenix, four days later the Climate Council rose out of the ashes of the Commission, supported by 15,000 Australians. In fact, we have outlasted the Abbott Government by a long while," he said.
The Climate Council website was launched at 12am on the 24th of September, the first donation came in minutes later from Joel in New South Wales who chipped in $15. Ten days later, $1.3 million had been raised, making it the largest crowdfunding campaign in Australian history.
"Australians donated because they were outraged that science was being silenced. People saw it as the worst kind of censorship, silencing scientists because the government did not like their findings," said Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie.
"We were thrilled with the incredible support and got to work straight away, continuing to provide the community, journalists, policymakers, emergency service workers, health professionals and farmers with accurate information on worsening extreme weather, climate science and energy."
KEY MILESTONES INCLUDE:
- Releasing almost 100 publications centred on climate science, impacts and solutions.
- Reaching over 260 million people online over the past five years with a network of 420,000 online friends.
- Producing over 80 videos, that have been viewed 12 million times.
- Spearheading Australia's first climate change and security summit, producing a landmark security report and a joint climate security statement from defence and security experts.
- The launching of the Cities Power Partnership (CPP) which is now Australia's largest local government climate change program, joining forces with 70 councils, representing over eight million Australians across 250 towns and cities.
"Back in 2013, we were at the starting line of the global renewables race, and you could see already Aussie businesses and families were reaching into their pockets and installing solar to combat rising power bills," she said.
McKenzie said as one of the sunniest nations in the world, Australia was today a world leader when it comes to solar power, thanks to local governments, local communities, households and everyday Australians driving climate solutions.
"I shudder to think of what the state of climate science communications would look like, without the efforts of the Climate Council over the last five years. My message to the people who supported us in the very beginning and to everyone who has chipped in along the way - this is your victory," she said.
"The Climate Council truly is an organisation for the Australian people, by the Australian people."
Read more about the Climate Council's achievements in our new report 'Powered By The People: Climate Council Five Years On'.