Clean up the Dirty Dozen polluters

After years of inaction from Coalition governments, the climate movement now has an opportunity to secure deep greenhouse emissions cuts from the country’s biggest polluters. 

The Albanese Government was elected with a mandate to strengthen Australia's Climate Safeguard Mechanism to ensure the industrial sector cuts its climate pollution this decade.

The climate movement can't afford to miss this opportunity.

Communities across the country are already doing a heavy lift on climate. Households are installing rooftop solar at a world-leading pace and signing up to green electricity providers. People are cycling to work, shifting to public transport, as well as adopting electric vehicles.

The same can’t be said of the facilities covered by Safeguard Mechanism whose emissions increased over the last decade. Industrial polluters are responsible for 28 percent of national emissions and it’s time for them to pull their weight.

If the Dirty Dozen big polluters and the industrial sector refuse to do their fair share on climate, then a greater burden will be put on Australian households, farmers, small businesses, and other sectors of our economy.

The climate movement must act quickly to show the Albanese government that the community has skin in the game. We must take action to put the Dirty Dozen big polluters on the backfoot and inspire champions in the Labor government.

With your support, we can fight for a strong Climate Safeguard Mechanism that can help Australia beat its 2030 emissions reduction target and build momentum for ambitious actions that match the scale of the climate crisis.


The Climate Safeguard Mechanism is a national policy tool that covers industrial polluters. The mechanism was put in place by the Abbott government when it scrapped the economy-wide price on carbon.

The Climate Safeguard Mechanism is essentially a way to apply a cap on emissions for the industrial sector that reduces over time. The government can use the lever to drive emissions cuts from the country’s most polluting facilities–such as coal mines and gas refineries.

While the Climate Safeguard Mechanism didn’t make polluters cut emissions under the Coalition government, Labor was elected with a mandate to strengthen the regulations.

A decision-making process is now underway, and the Albanese government is expected to announce its position in the first half of 2023. Minister for Climate Chris Bowen plans to have the upgraded mechanism up and running by 1 July 2023.

The strengthened Climate Safeguard Mechanism is currently the main tool proposed by the Albanese government to secure the necessary emissions cuts to meet the legislated target of a 43 percent reduction in Australia’s (below 2005 levels) by 2030.


Dirty Dozen polluters are the usual suspects of big coal, oil, and gas companies. Together, these fossil fuel companies are responsible for around half of  the emissions covered by Australia’s Climate Safeguard Mechanism.



Total Emissions since 2016 (tonnes CO2-e)

Chevron Gas & Oil 52,293,584
Woodside Gas & Oil 47,542,405
BHP  Coal 32,587,783
Anglo American Coal 31,673,783 
Santos Gas & Oil 27,743,224 
Glencore Coal Qld Ltd Coal 22,079,618 
Inpex Operations Gas & Oil 20,591,539 
Shell Australia Gas & Oil 16,856,882 
Conoco Phillips Gas & Oil 14,992,508 
South 32 Mining & Resources 10,417,778 
Exxon Mobil Australia Gas & Oil 9,713,245
Centennial Coal Coal 9,494,417

In the Dirty Dozen’s corner, we have the likes of the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) and Minerals Council of Australia (MCA). These industry lobby groups have a long track record of promoting the interests of fossil fuel companies.

It’s up to the climate movement to shine a light on the Dirty Dozen and their enablers and demand that they deliver deep emissions cuts this decade.


Pledge to hold the Dirty Dozen to account:

Friends of the Earth and grassroots groups hand-delivered letters to the Dirty Dozen polluters in Narrm/Melbourne. They’ve called for polluters to pull their weight on climate. Sign up to hold the Dirty Dozen to account and organise a meeting with your local Labor MP?

Call on the Albanese govt to rein in Dirty Dozen emissions:
Queensland Conservation Council delivered letters to Dirty Dozen companies in Brisbane, now they're calling on Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to make the polluters do their fair share on climate. Will you email the government?

Call on the govt to crack down on the Dirty Dozen:

The Climate Council is calling on Minister for Resources Madeleine King to force the Dirty Dozen to pull their weight on climate. Will you add your name to the call for strong emissions limits for the big polluters?

Email your MP to stand up for people, not big polluters:
The Federal Government has just released proposed details for Australia's climate policy to regulate big polluters and it needs to be much stronger. Call on your MP to fight for a fair climate policy, without loopholes that let big polluters off the hook while they trash our climate. Email your local MP now. 

Supporting community campaigning:
If you or your local climate action group would like to get involved in the campaign to clean up the Dirty Dozen polluters, then please email Leigh Ewbank. Solutions for Climate Australia can connect you with community members active in the campaign, provide support with public events, and help book meetings with local MPs. 

Raise your voice on Social Media:
Make sure the Labor government decision makers hear the community’s call for the Dirty Dozen polluters to pull their weight on climate. Join the debate on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by using the 
#DirtyDozenPolluters and #SafeguardOurClimate hashtags:





Anthony Albanese
Prime Minister 




Chris Bowen
Minister for Climate & Energy 




Jenny McAllister 
Assistant Minister for Climate & Energy 




Madeleine King
Minister for Resources, Minister for Northern Australia




Catherine King
Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development & Local Government




Tanya Plibersek
Minister for Environment




Ed Husic
Minister for Industry & Science





In late 2022, the climate movement kicked off a community campaign calling for Australia's Dirty Dozen polluters to pull their weight on climate.

The campaign demonstrates strong community support for a Climate Safeguard Mechanism that delivers real emissions cuts, not loopholes you could drive a coal-truck through.

A strengthened mechanism is essential for Australia beat its 2030 emissions reduction target and build momentum for ambitious actions that match the scale of the climate crisis. Will the Albanese government deliver? 


  • Climate Action Network Australia holds an online event on the emerging campaign to clean up Australia's Dirty Dozen polluters and secure strong reforms to the Climate Safeguard Mechanism.

  • Greenpeace Australia Pacific publish a full-page at in the Australian Financial Review to tell Woodside Energy–a Dirty Dozen company–that they have no place writing Australia's climate policy.

  • Solutions for Climate Australia coordinated a sign-on letter to Australia's Dirty Dozen polluters. Some 48 organisations representing millions of community members signed on to the letter which calls for polluters to pull their weight on climate and accept a strengthened Climate Safeguard Mechanism. 

  • In Melbourne, Friends of the Earth's Act on Climate collective, Darebin Climate Action Now, Higgins Climate Action Network, and Lighter Footprints hand delivered a sign-on letters to Shell, ExxonMobil, and BHP.

  • In Sydney, Climate Action Burwood-Canada Bay dropped into the headquarters of Santos, Glencore, and Centennial Coal to hand over the sign-on letter. 

  • The Climate Council launches an online petition calling on Minister for Resources Madeleine King to crack down on the Dirty Dozen polluters.

  • The sign-on letter to Dirty Dozen polluters was printed as a full-page advertisement in The West Australian, The Age, and Australian Financial Review, putting the campaign on the agenda of millions of Australians.  

  • The Perth Hills Climate Change Interest Group, Doctors for Environment Australia, Citizen's Climate Lobby, and Conservation Council of Western Australia hand delivered the sign-on letter to Shell, Woodside, Chevron, Santos, Inpex, South 32, and ConocoPhillips. 

  • In Brisbane, Queensland Conservation Council, Climate for Change, and supporters payed a visit to Glencore, Santos, and AngloAmerican delivering the sign-on letter from the movement. 

Shell_deliveries.jpgJANUARY 2023

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