Climate change a top priority for Australian voters: Survey

CANBERRA, May 11: Just over a week ahead of the May 21 general election, a new survey on Wednesday revealed that climate change remains a top priority for three out of four Australian voters who would support policies that limit its potential impacts.

The Climate Action Survey conducted by the Griffith University.

Lead author, Associate Professor Sameer Deshpande said that the project was one of the “most ambitious climate change surveys yet conducted in Australia,” and showed that key attitudes had experienced a dramatic shift.

“Almost a quarter of respondents believed that climate change was an ‘extremely serious’ problem right now, and 45 percent believed it would be by 2050,” said Deshpande.

The survey showed that just 2 per cent of the surveyed population were climate change deniers, 5 per cent were sceptics, and 16 per cent were unconvinced about climate change.

Climate change concern was the highest among respondents under 35, students, urban residents, people who don’t speak English as their main language, and people who reported as voters for Australia’s left-leaning political parties.

Women also reported stronger beliefs than men when it came to climate change.

While Australia makes up just 0.33 per cent of the world’s population, it is responsible for 3.6 per cent of the world’s emissions, as it is a major global supplier of coal and other fossil fuels.

Despite this, the Australian government only recently pledged to net zero emissions by 2050 as set out by the UN, and the government’s pathway to net zero has been criticised as lacking substance and a clear plan to reach the target.

However, amid searing heatwaves and bushfires, flooding on Australia’s east coast and environmental degradation, 57 per cent of respondents believed they were already starting to feel the effects of climate change.