Essential Report

Climate change acceptance

Jun 22, 2021

Q. Do you believe that there is fairly conclusive evidence that climate change is happening and caused by human activity or do you believe that the evidence is still not in and we may just be witnessing a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate which happens from time to time?

Jun’21 Jan’21 Jan’20 Nov’19 Mar’19 Oct’18 Sep’17 Aug’16
Climate change is happening and is caused by human activity 56% 58% 56% 61% 62% 63% 64% 57%
We are just witnessing a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate 27% 32% 32% 28% 27% 25% 24% 26%
Don’t know 16% 10% 13% 11% 12% 13% 12% 17%
Base (n) 1,087 1,084 1,081 1,083 1,089 1,027 1,011 1,022
  • Over half (56%) of Australians now believe climate change is happening and is caused by human activity, similar to recent results earlier in 2021 (58%) and 2020 (56%)
  • The proportion of those who are undecided on the cause of climate change has increased from earlier in the year to 16% (from 10% in January). Less than a third (27%) believe we are just witnessing a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate.
  Total Gender Age Group Federal Voting Intention
  Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+ Labor TOTAL: Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
Climate change is happening and is caused by human activity 56% 54% 58% 61% 58% 51% 70% 44% 81% 50%
We are just witnessing a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate 27% 33% 22% 19% 27% 35% 19% 40% 14% 36%
Don’t know 16% 12% 20% 20% 16% 14% 10% 17% 6% 14%
Base (n) 1,087 527 560 328 374 385 378 407 98 102
  •  Acceptance that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity is highest among Greens voters (81%) and Labor voters (70%).
  • Those who think changes are a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate is highest among Coalition voters (40%), those over 55 (35%) and men (33%).

Addressing climate change

Jun 22, 2021

Q. As far as you know, do you think Australia is doing enough, not enough or too much to address climate change?

Jun’21 Jan’21 Jun’20 Mar’20 Jan’20 Nov’19 Mar’19 Dec’18 Oct’18 Sep’17 Aug’16
Not doing enough 45% 42% 52% 55% 62% 60% 51% 53% 56% 56% 52%
Doing enough 30% 35% 25% 23% 19% 22% 27% 24% 23% 20% 22%
Doing too much 12% 10% 10% 9% 8% 8% 11% 9% 7% 8% 8%
Don’t know 13% 13% 13% 13% 11% 10% 12% 14% 13% 16% 18%
Base (n) 1,087 1,084 1,079 1,090 1,081 1,083 1,089 1,032 1,027 1,011 1,022
  • Most people think Australia is not doing enough to address climate change (45%), with 12% who think Australia is doing too much to address climate change. Consistent with previous years, 13% don’t know.
  • Fewer people now think Australia is doing enough to address climate change (30% from 35% in January).
  Total Gender Age Group Federal Voting Intention
  Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+ Labor TOTAL: Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
Not doing enough 45% 41% 49% 47% 46% 44% 64% 27% 64% 40%
Doing enough 30% 32% 27% 26% 28% 34% 19% 47% 20% 22%
Doing too much 12% 17% 7% 10% 12% 13% 6% 16% 11% 24%
Don’t know 13% 9% 16% 16% 14% 9% 12% 10% 5% 14%
Base (n) 1,087 527 560 328 374 385 378 407 98 102
  • Greens and Labor voters are now both the most likely to think Australia is not doing enough to address climate change (64% respectively). Labor voters are more likely to think the country is not doing enough compered to earlier in the year (56% in January).
  • Compared to other voters, Coalition voters are the most likely to think enough is being done (47%), and those voting for minor or independent parties are the most likely to think Australia is doing too much for climate change (24%).
  • Women are more likely to think not enough is being done to address climate change than men (49% to 41% respectively), although men are more likely to think this compared to earlier in the year (36%).

Agreement with need for Australia to act on climate change

Jun 22, 2021

Q. Scott Morrison recently attended the G7 summit in the UK along with other world leaders from Japan, France and US, among others.

Climate change was one of the main issues on the agenda. Each G7 nation has signed up to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 but Australia is yet to do so.

Meanwhile, the European Union has proposed introducing carbon tariffs on products from countries which are not ambitious enough on climate change to force action on cutting emissions.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

  TOTAL: Agree TOTAL: Disagree Strongly agree Somewhat agree Neither agree nor disagree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree
Australia needs to follow other countries’ lead and make climate change a priority, or risk being left behind 59% 15% 31% 28% 25% 9% 6%
Australian businesses have the opportunity to develop expertise in renewable energy and innovative technologies that other countries will demand 67% 8% 32% 35% 25% 6% 3%
Australian manufacturing could benefit from cheap electricity if more solar and wind farms were built 65% 10% 34% 31% 25% 6% 4%
Australia cannot afford to be locked out of the EU or other trade markets for failing to adopt a net zero emissions target by 2050 59% 11% 30% 29% 29% 8% 4%

 

TOTAL: Agree Total Gender Age Group Federal Voting Intention
Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+ Labor TOTAL: Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
Australia needs to follow other countries’ lead and make climate change a priority, or risk being left behind 59% 56% 62% 57% 61% 59% 74% 50% 70% 49%
Australian businesses have the opportunity to develop expertise in renewable energy and innovative technologies that other countries will demand 67% 66% 67% 57% 67% 74% 73% 68% 71% 60%
Australian manufacturing could benefit from cheap electricity if more solar and wind farms were built 65% 62% 67% 62% 66% 66% 75% 59% 75% 55%
Australia cannot afford to be locked out of the EU or other trade markets for failing to adopt a net zero emissions target by 2050 59% 60% 58% 54% 59% 64% 69% 55% 66% 53%
Base (n) 1,087 527 560 328 374 385 378 407 98 102
  • 67% agree that Australian businesses have the opportunity to develop expertise in renewable energy and innovative technologies that other countries will demand, and 65% agree that Australian manufacturing could benefit from cheap electricity if more solar and wind farms were built. Agreement with these statements is high across all gender, age groups and party lines measured.
  • 59% respectively agree that Australia needs to follow other countries’ lead and make climate change a priority, or risk being left behind, and Australia cannot afford to be locked out of the EU or other trade markets for failing to adopt a net zero emissions target by 2050. Agreement with these statements is lowest among Coalition voters and minor or independent party voters.

Views towards 2050 net zero emissions target

Feb 16, 2021

Q. In a recent speech, Scott Morrison stated Australia’s goal is to “…reach net zero emissions as soon as possible, and preferably by 2050”.

However, the Prime Minister did not formally commit to this goal or specify how the federal government plans to achieve it.

‘Net zero’ carbon emissions means a situation when Australia’s carbon emissions become less than or equal to the amount of carbon we are removing from the atmosphere.

Which of the following is closer to your view?

  Total Federal Voting Intention
Labor TOTAL: Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
We need to set a target for when we will get carbon emissions down to ‘net zero’, and worry about setting dates for reductions along the way later 32% 36% 31% 38% 33%
It is more important that we set realistic targets for reducing our emissions by 2030, than having a target date for achieving net zero 58% 57% 57% 62% 50%
We shouldn’t have targets for reducing carbon emissions 9% 7% 12% 1% 17%
Base (n) 1,109 359 428 101 131
  • Most people prefer the government to set concrete targets for reducing emissions, rather than setting a target date for achieving net zero emissions in the future.
  • Over half (58%) of people think it is more important that we set realistic targets for reducing our emissions by 2030, than having a target date for achieving net zero. This is the prevalent view across all voting intentions.
  • Just over a third (32%) think we need to set a target for when we will get carbon emissions down to ‘net zero’, and worry about setting dates for reductions along the way later. 9% think we shouldn’t have targets for reducing carbon emissions.

Support towards excluding agriculture from 2050 net zero emissions target

Feb 16, 2021

Q. The deputy PM Michael McCormack says agriculture could be excluded from the new 2050 net zero emissions target because regional Australia is still recovering from drought, bushfires, flood and the Covid-19 pandemic, and this target will “…hurt regional Australia”.

To what extent do you support or oppose this proposition to exclude agriculture from the new 2050 net zero emissions target? 

  Total Federal Voting Intention
  Labor TOTAL: Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
Strongly support 17% 10% 26% 8% 22%
Somewhat support 27% 31% 29% 21% 17%
Somewhat oppose 17% 19% 15% 18% 17%
Strongly oppose 15% 16% 10% 30% 20%
Unsure 24% 24% 20% 22% 23%
TOTAL: Support 44% 41% 55% 29% 39%
TOTAL: Oppose 32% 35% 25% 48% 37%
Base (n) 1,109 359 428 101 131
  • More people support excluding agriculture from the 2050 net zero emissions target than those who oppose this proposition (44% vs 32%).
  • About a quarter (24%) are unsure.
  • Compared to other voters, Greens voters are the most likely to oppose this exclusion (48%) and Coalition voters are the most likely to support it (55%).

Attitudes towards bushfires and climate change

Jan 19, 2021

Q. Thinking about the bushfires in some parts of the country, which of the following statements is closest to your view?

Jan’21 Jan’20 Nov’19 Oct’13
It is likely that the bushfires are linked to climate change and it is appropriate to publicly raise this issue 49% 44% 43% 27%
It is likely that the bushfires are linked to climate change, but it is inappropriate to publicly raise this issue at this this time 18% 19% 17% 14%
It is unlikely the bushfires are linked to climate change 20% 26% 30% 48%
Don’t know 12% 11% 11% 11%
Base (n) 1,084 1,081 1,083 1,075
  •  Just under half (49%) of people think it is likely that the bushfires are linked to climate change and it is appropriate to publicly raise this issue, the highest proportion in the last three years (up from 44% this time last year). Correspondingly, fewer think it is unlikely the bushfires are linked to climate change (20%, down from 26%).
  • About the same amount of people as previous years think it is likely that the bushfires are linked to climate change, but it is inappropriate to publicly raise this issue at this this time (18%).
  Total Gender Age Group Federal Voting Intention
  Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+ Labor TOTAL: Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
It is likely that the bushfires are linked to climate change and it is appropriate to publicly raise this issue 49% 49% 50% 49% 51% 48% 58% 42% 65% 42%
It is likely that the bushfires are linked to climate change, but it is inappropriate to publicly raise this issue at this this time 18% 20% 16% 26% 17% 12% 15% 20% 24% 17%
It is unlikely the bushfires are linked to climate change 20% 21% 20% 10% 18% 32% 15% 28% 4% 32%
Don’t know 12% 10% 14% 14% 14% 8% 11% 9% 7% 9%
Base (n) 1,084 539 545 341 358 385 334 431 118 106
  •  About a third (32%) of those over 55 think it is unlikely the bushfires are linked to climate change, the highest among the three age brackets.
  • More people aged 18-34 think it is likely that the bushfires are linked to climate change, but it is inappropriate to publicly raise this issue at this this time, than those aged 35-54 and those over 55 (26% to 17% and 12% respectively).
  • The view that it is likely that the bushfires are linked to climate change and it is appropriate to publicly raise this issue is high; this is highest among Greens voters (65%), followed by Labor voters (58%), Coalition voters (42%) and other voters (42%).
  • Minor and independent party voters and Coalition voters are the most likely to think it is unlikely the bushfires are linked to climate change (32% and 28% respectively).

Climate change acceptance

Jan 19, 2021

Q. Do you believe that there is fairly conclusive evidence that climate change is happening and caused by human activity or do you believe that the evidence is still not in and we may just be witnessing a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate which happens from time to time?

Jan’21 Jan’20 Nov’19 Mar’19 Oct’18 Sep’17 Aug’16
Climate change is happening and is caused by human activity 58% 56% 61% 62% 63% 64% 57%
We are just witnessing a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate 32% 32% 28% 27% 25% 24% 26%
Don’t know 10% 13% 11% 12% 13% 12% 17%
Base (n) 1,084 1,081 1,083 1,089 1,027 1,011 1,022
  • There has been little shift in attitudes to the acceptance of climate change over recent years. Over half of people (58%) believe climate change is happening and is caused by human activity.
  • Over a third still believe we are just witnessing a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate (32%) and 10% aren’t sure which they believe. 
  Total Gender Age Group Federal Voting Intention
  Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+ Labor TOTAL: Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
Climate change is happening and is caused by human activity 58% 54% 61% 62% 58% 54% 67% 50% 78% 45%
We are just witnessing a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate 32% 36% 28% 24% 31% 40% 24% 43% 17% 44%
Don’t know 10% 9% 11% 15% 11% 6% 9% 7% 5% 11%
Base (n) 1,084 539 545 341 358 385 334 431 118 106
  • Acceptance that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity is high across all voters, but highest among Greens voters (78%) and Labor voters (67%), followed by Coalition voters (50%) and other voters (45%).
  • Climate change denial is highest among Coalition voters (43%), those over 55 (40%) and men (36%), whom are the most likely to believe we are just witnessing a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate.

Addressing climate change

Jan 19, 2021

Q. As far as you know, do you think Australia is doing enough, not enough or too much to address climate change?

Jan’21 Jan’20 Nov’19 Mar’19 Dec’18 Oct’18 Sep’17 Aug’16
Not doing enough 42% 62% 60% 51% 53% 56% 56% 52%
Doing enough 35% 19% 22% 27% 24% 23% 20% 22%
Doing too much 10% 8% 8% 11% 9% 7% 8% 8%
Don’t know 13% 11% 10% 12% 14% 13% 16% 18%
Base (n) 1,084 1,081 1,083 1,089 1,032 1,027 1,011 1,022
  • Over a third (35%) of people think Australia is doing enough to address climate change, the highest proportion in the last five years.
  • 42% still think not enough is being done, however this is a significant drop from last year (62%) and the years before.
  • 10% think Australia is doing too much to address climate change and 13% don’t know. Both figures are similar to previous years. 
  Total Gender Age Group Federal Voting Intention
  Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+ Labor TOTAL: Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
Not doing enough 42% 36% 48% 40% 41% 45% 56% 28% 69% 39%
Doing enough 35% 38% 33% 33% 34% 39% 29% 52% 17% 28%
Doing too much 10% 15% 4% 9% 13% 7% 6% 12% 7% 21%
Don’t know 13% 11% 15% 17% 12% 9% 9% 8% 8% 12%
Base (n) 1,084 539 545 341 358 385 334 431 118 106
  • Greens voters are the most likely to think Australia is not doing enough to address climate change (69%), followed by Labor voters (56%).
  • Compared to other voters, Coalition voters are the most likely to think enough is being done (52%), and those voting for minor and independent parties are the most likely to think Australia is doing too much for climate change (21%).
  • Women are more likely to think not enough is being done to address climate change than men (48% to 36% respectively).
Pages:1234567...16»

COVID-19 RESEARCH

Read Essential's ongoing research on the public response to Covid-19.

Sign up for updates

Receive the Essential Report in your inbox.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.