The largest in-depth survey on Australia’s opinion of climate change shows that most Australians want more decisive action to solve climate change.
The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), an environmental organisation that advocates against environmental destruction, conducted a YouGov survey to measure Australia’s interest in climate issues. From the results, electorates within Australia all agreed that support for climate change was a necessary action that the Morrison government is neglecting.
The poll had a sample of more than 15, 000 Australian voters aged over 18, using multilevel regression with poststratification (MRP). It corrects model estimates for known differences between a sample population. This allows for an accurate representation of participant opinions in a typically biased sample. In this case, combining aspects of census data with polling data to predict how certain geographical areas would react to climate issues.
Across Australia, 79% of voters believed that greater climate action would help fight recent rises in extreme climate conditions, with 67% also believing that the federal government needed to do more to address the climate issue. ACF CEO Kelly O’Shanassy said that these results showed unity “across the country, [and that] Australians are experiencing climate damage and demanding action from their elected representatives”.
71% of Australians also did not see gas and coal as being a long-time contributor to Australia’s energy resources, rejecting the need to create more gas and coal plants.
Net Zero by 2030?
61% of voters found it necessary to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030, a contrast to the Morrison government’s reluctance to commit to net-zero by 2050. While the current 26-28% below 2005 by 2030 goal meets the Paris Climate Agreement’s terms, it is a move that has been highly criticised by the US and the UK, who have already committed to halving emissions by 2030. Former UN General Ban Ki Moon has also criticised Australia’s climate goals:
“Australia’s current goal of a 26 to 28 per cent reduction on 2005 levels by 2030, and the absence of a national zero emissions target, is out of step with its states, its trading partners, and other comparable nations. It is insufficient to meet Australia’s Paris Agreement commitments.”
Australia will be participating in the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, in November. It will be attended by all the nations that have signed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).