Essential Report

Concern about climate threats to Australia listed in IPCC report

Aug 17, 2021

Q. A recently released report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that changes to the earth’s climate are “unequivocally the result of human actions”, and increased global temperatures will cause unprecedented changes to the earth’s climate unless drastic action is taken over the next 10 years.

To what extent are you concerned about each of the following threats to Australia which the IPCC has listed in the report?

  TOTAL: Concerned TOTAL:

Not Concerned

Very concerned Moderately concerned Not that concerned Not concerned at all
More extreme and frequent bushfires, with longer fire seasons 81% 19% 43% 38% 14% 6%
Increased frequency of droughts in drier areas 79% 21% 40% 39% 15% 6%
Increased sea temperatures damaging marine ecosystems 76% 24% 37% 39% 18% 6%
More frequent heavy rainfall causing river floods and worse storms 75% 25% 32% 42% 19% 6%
Sea levels around Australia continuing to rise, causing coastal erosion and threatening communities 72% 28% 32% 40% 20% 8%
  • There is high concern for all impacts of climate change affecting Australia identified in the latest IPCC report.
  • 81% say they are concerned about the threat of more extreme and frequent bushfires (43% very concerned), and 79% are concerned about the increased frequency of drought in drier areas (40% very concerned).
  • Despite having the lowest concern of the threats, 72% of people say they are concerned with rising sea levels causing coastal erosion.
TOTAL:

Concerned

Total Gender Age Group Federal Voting Intention
Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+ Labor TOTAL: Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
More extreme and frequent bushfires, with longer fire seasons 81% 76% 85% 81% 83% 78% 87% 75% 92% 75%
Increased frequency of droughts in drier areas 79% 76% 82% 77% 84% 76% 84% 74% 91% 76%
Increased sea temperatures damaging marine ecosystems 76% 71% 80% 78% 80% 70% 83% 68% 93% 67%
More frequent heavy rainfall causing river floods and worse storms 75% 69% 80% 76% 79% 69% 81% 68% 87% 65%
Sea levels around Australia continuing to rise, causing coastal erosion and threatening communities 72% 66% 78% 73% 77% 67% 80% 64% 91% 68%
Base (n) 1,100 538 562 341 374 385 376 384 116 122

Support for government actions to combat IPCC report-listed climate threats

Aug 17, 2021

Q. To what extent would you support or oppose the following government actions?

  TOTAL: Support TOTAL: Oppose Strongly support Somewhat support Neither support nor oppose Somewhat oppose Strongly oppose
Provide greater funding for rooftop solar and household battery storage 70% 7% 41% 29% 23% 4% 3%
Introduce a levy to high carbon-emitting industries to encourage them to switch to renewable sources 63% 13% 34% 29% 24% 7% 6%
Set a nationwide ‘net zero’ carbon emissions target for 2030 61% 13% 33% 29% 25% 7% 6%
Plan for the closure of all fossil fuel-burning power stations, and transition to renewables and battery storage by 2030 61% 14% 32% 29% 25% 7% 7%
Stop public funding of all coal and gas mining in Australia 53% 17% 29% 23% 31% 9% 8%
Phase out new petrol cars by 2030 47% 24% 22% 24% 30% 12% 11%
  • The majority of people would support the introduction of many of the changes to policy listed. 70% support greater government funding for installation of rooftop solar panels and household battery storage, and 63% support the introduction of a levy to high carbon-emitting industries.
  • 61% of people support both setting a nationwide ‘net zero’ carbon emission target for 2030, and the closure of all fossil fuel-burning power stations, and transition to renewables and battery storage by 2030. Just over half (53%) support the end of public funding for coal and gas mining in Australia.
  • 47% are in favour of the phase-out of new petrol cars by 2030.
TOTAL: Support Total Gender Age Group Federal Voting Intention
Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+ Labor TOTAL: Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
Provide greater funding for rooftop solar and household battery storage 70% 70% 71% 65% 73% 72% 75% 68% 85% 66%
Introduce a levy to high carbon-emitting industries to encourage them to switch to renewable sources 63% 59% 66% 61% 68% 58% 72% 55% 82% 50%
Set a nationwide ‘net zero’ carbon emissions target for 2030 61% 61% 62% 64% 66% 55% 70% 54% 85% 50%
Plan for the closure of all fossil fuel-burning power stations, and transition to renewables and battery storage by 2030 61% 60% 62% 66% 64% 54% 72% 52% 82% 53%
Stop public funding of all coal and gas mining in Australia 53% 54% 52% 56% 58% 44% 63% 43% 76% 39%
Phase out new petrol cars by 2030 47% 48% 45% 53% 51% 36% 51% 42% 76% 37%
Base (n) 1,100 538 562 341 374 385 376 384 116 122
  • Those aged 18-34 have higher support than those aged over 55 for all measures, except greater funding for rooftop solar and household battery storage.
  • Coalition voters and those voting for a minor party or independent candidate have the lowest support for the introduction of all these measures. Labor and Greens voters are the most likely to support all measures.

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).
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