Climate change and NSW: Overview

Learn how the NSW Government is responding to climate change in the context of Australian and international action. The NSW Government is committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions in New South Wales by 2050. Learn how the EPA is contributing.


Without substantial action, climate change poses a major threat to humanity and most living systems on Earth,1 including the health and wellbeing of the environment and people of NSW. We can already see the effect of climate change, and it is expected to get worse over time2 Learn more about the climate change threat.

Combating climate change needs a coordinated, multi-government response. The main way this is happening internationally is through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement;3 Australia is a party to both.4 The NSW Government has endorsed the Paris Agreement and has committed the state to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.5

The NSW Government is determined to take decisive and responsible action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and secure the state’s economic prosperity for the decades to come. The NSW Climate Change Policy Framework explains the NSW Government’s long-term goals to have net zero emissions by 2050, and to make New South Wales more resilient to a changing climate.

The Net Zero Plan is the foundation for NSW’s action on climate change. Stage 1 of the plan (2020-2030) outlines the NSW Government’s plan to grow the economy, create jobs and reduce emissions over the next decade. The Plan is funded by a landmark $2 billion agreement between the NSW and Commonwealth Governments to reduce emissions and improve the reliability and affordability of electricity in NSW. In addition, through the Climate Change Fund, the NSW Government is investing $1.4 billion between 2017 and 2022 in energy efficiency, clean energy, adaptation and resilience.

Under the Net Zero Plan, the EPA is making sure NSW achieves net zero emissions from organic waste by 2030. The EPA is also responsible for letting the public know about the state of the NSW environment and climate, and how well the NSW Government is doing against the Net Zero Plan, in the NSW State of the Environment Report. Other EPA programs and actions also support the NSW Government’s climate change objectives. Learn more about EPA actions on climate change

Photograph of Peery Lake during dry season in Paroo Darling National Park. Murray Darling Basin
Photograph by Dinitee Haskard/DPIE
Photograph of Floods in Budelah Nature Reserve
Photograph by Adam Henderson/DPIE

United Nations

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

  • Paris Agreement
    • Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels
    • Pursuing efforts to limit temperature increase to 1.5°C
    • Goal of net zero emissions globally by 2050
Learn more at UN Climate Change


  • Commonwealth Government — committed to the Paris Agreement
    • Committed to reducing emissions by 26 to 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030
    • Committed to setting a post–2030 target, by 2025
  • Develops national climate change policies and programs
    • National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting
    • Clean Energy Finance Corporation — $10 billion
    • Emissions Reduction Fund
Learn more at Australian Government


  • NSW Government — endorses the Paris Agreement
  • Develops whole-of-government policies and programs for NSW; complements global and national action
    • Objective to achieve net zero emissions by 2050
    • NSW Climate Change Policy Framework
    • Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020-2030
    • Climate Change Fund — $1.4 billion from 2017 to 2022
    • Energy Security Safeguard — peak demand reduction scheme and energy efficiency certificate scheme
  • Lead Minister: Minister for Energy and Environment
  • Lead Agency: DPIE — Environment, Energy and Science (EES) Group
  • NSW EPA — contributes to the NSW Government’s climate change objectives (part of EES)
Learn more at DPIE


1. EPA (2018) NSW State of the Environment 2018, NSW Environment Protection Authority, Sydney South, December 2018, URL: (PDF 4.2MB)

2. EPA (2018) NSW State of the Environment 2018, NSW Environment Protection Authority, Sydney South, December 2018, URL: (PDF 4.2MB)

3. United Nations (2015) Paris Agreement, URL: (PDF 4.5MB)

4. Australian Government, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources website: Australia’s climate change strategies URL: cited 6/11/20

5. NSW Government (2016) NSW Climate Change Policy Framework, State of NSW and Office of Environment and Heritage Sydney South, November 2016, URL:

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