Hundreds of Australia’s sporting legends have united in calling for increased climate action, backing former Wallabies captain David Pocock’s The Cool Down initiative, which calls on Australia to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 before reaching net-zero no later than 2050.

Pocock has recruited the likes of Libby Trickett, Pat Cummins, Cate and Bronte Campbell, Lance Franklin, Liz Ellis, Mark Philippoussis, Mick Fanning, Craig Foster, Ian Chappell and Sarah Stewart. In total, over 400 athletes have joined Pocock’s open letter to the nation’s leaders, emphasizing the relationship between extreme weather and sport, all while calling for immediate action to “safeguard the future of all Australians.”

"The climate crisis and Australia’s intensifying extreme weather is threatening the sports and country we love,” the open letter reads. “Australians have always punched above our weight on the world stage, and it’s time to do it on climate. To safeguard the games we love for generations to come, we must cut our emissions.” 

Pocock and his army of supporters have likewise called on everyday Australians to sign the letter.

“The more Australians who sign on, the stronger the message we send to our government, and the world, about what Australians really want for our future,” the website reads, before urging citizens to share the campaign on social media and spark conversations with friends, family and colleagues.

The climate crisis unequivocally poses an existential threat to the planet and people across the globe. 

The most recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released last month, shows human activities are undeniably heating the planet and causing widespread, intense and extreme weather events. The world’s poorest people in developing countries bear the brunt of these weather changes, because they lack the resources required to adapt.

Without immediate change, a further 100 million people are likely to be pushed into poverty by climate change over the next decade.

In Australia, the seven years between 2013 and 2019 were the hottest on record, with the IPCC report revealing the nation had warmed by 1.4 degrees Celsius since 1910. Last year, the Australian National University ranked Australia environmental health a 3 out of 10.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has long been adamant that the nation will achieve its current climate targets. As part of the Paris agreement in 2015, Australia pledged to reduce emissions by 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Alongside calls from the likes of grassroots organisations, nonprofits and The Cool Down initiative, the Australian government is now facing increasing pressure from critical allies to adjust its climate policy and join over 120 countries that have already committed to the mid-century net-zero emissions target.

All eyes will be on Australia when the nation joins the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference, this November.

You can call on Australia to play its part in stopping the climate crisis by taking action here.


Defend the Planet

Mick Fanning, Lance Franklin, Pat Cummins and More Sporting Legends Unite for Australian Climate Action

By Madeleine Keck