A social media campaign to fund a replacement for the abolished Climate Commission through private donations has proved a huge success with $900,000 raised in less than a week.
Amanda McKenzie, from the rebadged Climate Council, said the money was raised largely from small donors, with an average donation of about $50.
The funds were raised from about 20,000 individuals and far exceeded the original targets.
“Initially the councillors aimed to raise $500,000 in a week. That target was met after two days,” she said. “Once we got to $800,000 we upped the aim to $1 million on Facebook”.
Ms McKenzie said most of the donations from the email and social media campaign had come through its Facebook page. “There’s obviously very strong community interest for the community to get the facts.”
As one of its first acts, the newly elected Abbott government fulfilled its pre-election promise to axe the Climate Commission.
A day after being sworn in, Environment Minister Greg Hunt called chief climate commissioner Tim Flannery to say the body would be abolished immediately. The decision will save the government $1.6 million a year.
The commission was set up by the Gillard government to provide public information on global warming. Mr Hunt said it was axed to streamline government processes and that analysis on climate change would be provided by the Environment Department.
Ms McKenzie described the fund-raising method as “Obama style”, a reference to the social media fund-raising strategy of US President Barack Obama, which involved tapping small donors for contributions.
Ms McKenzie said she had not seen all the donations but the bulk were for $5 to $1000. She was yet to see a donation of more than $1000.
She said the new body was yet to decide if it would disclose the identity of large donors. It also wanted to keep raising money but was yet to determine if that would be used to boost the council’s annual budget or stretch its funding over a longer period.
“The capacity to work depends on what the budget is – the greater budget the greater capacity to do work.”
Ms McKenzie said one of its first acts was to provide a summary of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.
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