Essential Report

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.

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.