Core analysis conducted in August 2021.

Overall NDC Equity Score

Critically Deficient


Emissions Reductions


The NDC’s emissions reduction goals lack ambition, however, the country provides pathways to lower emissions.


Gender Justice

Critically Deficient

The NDC has significant gaps in addressing gender mainstreaming, potentially not including gender equity at all.


Youth Inclusion


The NDC made an effort to acknowledge the disproportionate impacts of climate on young people, but it insufficiently addresses long-term inclusion.


Australia has the highest carbon emissions per capita of all Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries and is one of the world’s major coal exporters. The updated Australian NDC provides no renewed carbon emission reduction target, overwhelmingly focuses on the use of new technologies in order to reach target, does not include a responsibility for emissions related to exported coal, and only sets a goal to achieve net-zero emissions ‘as soon as possible’ without providing a timeline or year-on-year planning. This vague statement makes no clear commitment to emissions reductions, is unapologetically unambitious, and can be attributed no real meaning.


On gender and youth inclusion, the original NDC, and following communication, are remarkably short in length and do not acknowledge the perspectives of youth, gender, or Indigenous Australians. The omission of youth, gender, and Indigenous perspectives is unacceptable considering the disproportionate impact of climate change on women, the increasingly dire climate context to be inherited by youth, and the continued harms inflicted on Indigenous Australians. By neglecting to diversify their NDC and all associated processes, the Australian Government limits their own potential to innovate and develop effective, equitable methods of adaptation and mitigation of climate change.


Youth climate leaders, including at Raise Our Voice Australia and within Youth Parliament initiatives at the State Levels, are currently leading and uplifting their own voices. Focusing efforts on collaborating with these organizations that have laid the groundwork for an inclusive process and increasing opportunities for engagement at the National-level would greatly benefit the next NDC.


  • Indicates Australia as responsible for reducing carbon emissions - to an extent.
  • Emphasizes the importance of "over-achieving" emissions reductions targets.


  • Only two out of nine state, territory, and federal heads of government and two of nine energy ministers are women, making it easier to omit a gender-responsive approach to the NDC.
  • Relies heavily on technology for reducing emissions.
  • Fails to include any diversity of perspectives or acknowledgement of climate justice.

Key Recommendations

This analysis finds that Australia’s NDC is unambitious and inequitable. In addition to strengthening gender and intergenerational justice, the NDC must commit to the phasing out of fossil fuels and include an ambitious policy for the promotion of electric vehicles (EVs) given the prominence of vehicles in Australian society. In addition, rather than set the floor for emissions reductions and rely on carbon offset technology, Australia must commit to real emissions reductions.

This analysis found that there is no emphasis on the importance of youth, indigenous peoples, or gender justice. The following are key recommendations for the improvement of future NDCs and other national climate plans:

For Gender Justice

  • Gender-related language must be included in Australia’s next NDC update in order to acknowledge the unique experiences and needs of women and non-binary individuals.
  • The representation of women and non-binary individuals in politics and leadership positions must be increased, such as through a establishing quota within all government agencies, climate policy bodies, and consultation groups.
  • Unify and create opportunities for women-led and serving organizations to participate in consultations and implementation processes of future NDCs.

For Youth Inclusion

  • Collaborate with organizations, such as Raise Our Voice and Australian Youth Climate Coalition, to provide education and training to mobilise youth on climate issues and policymaking.
  • Unify and create opportunities for youth-led and serving organizations to participate in consultations and implementation processes of future NDCs.
  • National Youth Advisory Panel for climate policy, including Australia’s NDC, should be established with youth representatives from various communities, regions, and youth-led NGOs.
  • Policy-makers should indicate how youth perspectives shape policy outcomes to avoid tokenization.

NDC Ambassador - Author

Fiona Hurrey

NDC Ambassador Fiona Hurrey is in her first year of a Master in Environmental Policy at Science Po’s Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA). She grew up in the Australian bush on the Sunshine Coast and has a strong appreciation for the necessity of a healthy environment in ensuring the durability, equality, and well-being of human communities. She holds a Bachelor of International Studies (International Relations and French) from the University of Queensland. Fiona has experience in Australian climate and renewable energy policy, urban environmental policy in New Orleans, the implementation of the UN Sustainable Goals (SDGs), analysis of institutional racism, and health policy for Indigenous Australians.

NDC Mentor

Lea Lewin

NDC Mentor Lea Lewin is the Senior Policy Analyst at solutions-focused climate change think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions. She has a background in managing and growing some of Australia’s largest commercial solar portfolios, designing energy efficiency upgrade programs, and has experience consulting on a broad range of energy management solutions. She has previously worked at the Australian Energy Foundation, is a qualified patent attorney as well as a legal practitioner. Lea runs her own sustainable events company Treecreds, dedicated to delivering creative emissions reduction strategies as well as carbon offset solutions. Lea and her team will soon launch a comprehensive online carbon calculator tool.

See Other Countries’ NDC Equity Scores

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Embracing Climate Equity to Shape an Equitable and Sustainable World

“2024 must be a year of ambitious emissions reduction and support for people facing the worsening effects of climate change. We need youth-led programs that grow understanding and accountability to build a livable future.”