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Report

Climate of the nation 2018

Tracking Australia’s attitudes towards climate change and energy

12 Sep 2018
Description

Climate change is happening and Australians are concerned about the impacts

More Australians accept the reality of climate change than at almost any time since Climate of the Nation began in 2007.

Three quarters (76%, up from 71% 2017) of Australians accept that climate change is occurring, 11% do not think that climate change is occurring and 13% are unsure.

Acceptance of climate change closely follows voting intentions, but interestingly while One Nation (22%) and Nationals (15%) voters are the most likely to say they do not think that climate change is occurring, this declined significantly for both groups since 2017.

The effects of heat are the driving concern about the impact of climate change, and people were most concerned about more droughts and flooding affecting crop production and food supply (78%), destruction of the Great Barrier Reef (77%) and more bushfires (76%)

The public wants to transition away from coal-fired power to renewable energy

Solar power continues to be Australia’s most preferred source of energy. Three-quarters of Australians selected it in their top three preferred sources of energy, as a majority have done for the past three years.

Almost as many people (70%) agreed that the Government needs to implement a plan to ensure the orderly closure of old coal plants and their replacement with clean energy.

There are some divisions over how soon the transition away from coal should occur, but a majority (67%) said within the next 20 years. 16% said it should never be phased out, the rest between 20 and 50 years.

Australians think governments are not doing enough about climate change

After a decade of federal policy inaction and uncertainty on climate change, it’s hardly surprising that more than half (53%) of Australians think governments are not doing enough about climate change, and a further 6% don’t think governments are concerned about it at all.

Australians support state government incentives for renewable energy (68%) and plans to phase out coal-fired power stations (62%). But they are divided on whether state governments should wait for the Federal Government before they act.

Support setting domestic targets for emissions reduction

Just 20% of Australians think we should pull out of the Paris Agreement, compared to 55% who say we should stay.

A clear majority (68%) of Australians support setting domestic targets to reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.

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2018
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