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We’re working for a just, inclusive and timely transition to a low-carbon future, with healthy, efficient homes; affordable, clean energy; and low-emissions jobs for all.

Climate change will affect every Australian and many of its impacts are likely to hit low-income households hardest.

Older people, infants and people with disability are particularly at risk during heatwaves, for example, which are predicted to become more frequent and severe in south-eastern Australia.

The solutions are clear – we need to lower emissions by moving to cleaner, affordable energy and taking action across the economy. It’s essential the transition is fair.

Our work seeks to ensure low-income households and communities are part of the solution to climate change. We develop policy, undertake research and run pilots to test innovative ideas.

Our current focuses include:

  • addressing climate change by advocating for a fair, timely transition to net zero emissions, whilst supporting adaptation to the unavoidable impacts such as more heatwaves
  • improving the efficiency of homes and making them healthier to live in and cheaper to run
  • reducing energy costs for households and ensuring access to affordable, clean energy.

Addressing climate change fairly

Climate change poses serious risks to the health and wellbeing of Australians, especially those experiencing disadvantage. To avoid catastrophic climate change, it’s vital that we act now.

Strong climate change policy can go hand-in-hand with job creation and lowering energy bills. We're working to ensure equitable responses to climate change.

We need:

  • ambitious emissions reduction targets and policies that are fair and well-resourced
  • community-led plans to ensure all Australians can adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change
  • measures to enable a fair transition for affected communities and households.

Healthy, efficient homes

Energy efficient homes and appliances can lower household energy bills while also reducing carbon pollution and improving residents’ health.

However, the people who most need efficiency upgrades often can’t afford them or can't make changes because they are renting.

We are working with government and corporate partners to better understand the benefits of energy efficiency and develop models to ensure low-income and energy-stressed households have efficient homes that are warm in winter and cool in summer.

Affordable, clean energy

We’re working to ensure all Australians have access to affordable and clean energy.

Australia needs to rapidly transition to low-carbon energy sources, such as renewables. At the same time, we need to address the challenge of energy poverty, which afflicts hundreds of thousands of Australians.

We know too many Australians struggle to afford the energy they need as high energy prices, which have increased dramatically over the past decade, strain household budgets and force many to ration their energy use to the detriment of their wellbeing.

We’re working to create solutions: forging a pathway to zero carbon energy with certainty in climate change and energy policy; securing lower network prices, reforming retail markets to protect vulnerable people, and promoting access to energy efficiency measures and renewable energy.

Find all recent publications on Climate change and energy (2000–present)

Visit the BSL library for our prior research on Climate change and energy (pre 2000)

Selected publications

By Sangeetha Chandrashekeran, Julia de Bruyn, David Bryant and Damian Sullivan 2023

Our study explores the views of lower-income households about moving from gas to electricity as home energy sources, the barriers they face, and the implications for policy to achieve equitable solutions.

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By David Bryant, Emily Porter, Ismo Rama and Damian Sullivan 2022

Understanding which households experience energy stress is important for policy development in the context of rising energy prices and the move to decarbonise the economy.

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By Australian Council of Social Service and Brotherhood of St. Laurence 2019

This report models policies that can reduce energy poverty and improve access to affordable, clean energy.

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By Australian Council of Social Service and Brotherhood of St. Laurence 2018

Which Australians are hardest hit by high energy prices?

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By Australian Council of Social Service and Brotherhood of St. Laurence 2018

Certainty in climate change and energy policy can lower emissions and reduce energy prices, taking the pressure off energy-stressed households.

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By ACOSS, Brotherhood of St. Laurence and The Climate Institute 2017

Action is needed to provide all Australians with access to affordable, reliable and clean energy—dubbed the ‘energy trilemma’.

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By Damian Sullivan with others 2017

Installing an efficient hot water system might reduce energy usage costs and greenhouse gas emissions, but may be too expensive or too daunting for low-income households.

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By Francisco Azpitarte, Victoria Johnson and Damian Sullivan 2015

Identifying which Australian households are experiencing fuel poverty requires more than a single measure.

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Selected projects

Research and Policy project

This project identified ways to enable a fair transition to clean affordable energy in Australia.

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Research and Policy project

This project aims to lower energy bills by representing consumers in the setting of electricity network costs.

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Research and Policy project

The Brotherhood advocates for energy efficiency policy and program development, which assists low income households.

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