Climate change? Scepticism becomes mainstream

Dec 7, 2010

First Published on The Drum 07/12/2010

It was a year ago today that the hottest gig in global warming opened in Copenhagen, amidst expectations that the world’s leaders would rise above their geographical interests and make a stand for the future.

Twelve months on and the hopes of Copenhagen seem as retro as a Midnight Oil album, the world has opted to sleep even when our beds are burning.

While the lack of political action over the past year has been well documented, this week’s Essential Report picks up another dynamic that is both a response to and a driver for this inertia. For the first time, we have found less than 50 per cent of Australians think climate change is real.

Dec 10 Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens
Climate change is happening and is caused by human activity 45% 53% 32% 76%
We are just witnessing a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate 36% 27% 53% 14%
Don’t know 19% 20% 15% 10%

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Importance of Copenhagen Conference

Dec 14, 2009

Q. World leaders are currently meeting in Copenhagen to discuss a global approach to climate change. How important do you think this meeting is?

%
Total important 73%
Total not important 21%
Very important 39%
Quite important 34%
Not very important 12%
Not at all important 9%
Don’t know 6%

73% of people think that the meeting in Copenhagen to discuss a global approach to climate change is important, 21% think it is not important and 6% don’t know.

Labor (84%) and Green (89%) voters were more likely to think the meeting is important, while Coalition voters were more likely to think the meeting is not important (37%).  59% of Coalition voters think the meeting is important.

Respondents aged 18 – 24 were more likely to think the meeting is important (75%) while those aged 55 years and over were more likely to think it is not important (23%).

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Climate Change and Copenhagen

Dec 14, 2009

Q. And how likely do you think it is that the world leaders meeting in Copenhagen will reach agreement on a global approach to climate change?

%
Total likely 19%
Total not likely 74%
Very likely 3%
Quite likely 16%
Not very likely 53%
Not at all likely 21%
Don’t know 8%

While most people surveyed think the meeting in Copenhagen is important, only 19% think that it is likely that the meeting in Copenhagen will reach agreement on a global approach to climate change.  74% don’t think it is likely an agreement will be reached and 8% don’t know.

Labor voters were more likely to be optimistic that an agreement will be reached (26%) while Coalition voters were more likely to think reaching agreement is not likely (86%).  16% of Green voters think it is likely and 78% think it is not likely agreement will be reached.

Results were similar across the different age and gender groups. Comments »

Emissions Trading Scheme

Nov 16, 2009

Q. Thinking about climate change, the Government says legislation for an emissions trading scheme needs to be passed before the world summit on climate change being held in Copenhagen in December. The Opposition says Australia should delay making any decisions on an emissions trading scheme until after the world summit. Who do you agree with most?

33% of people surveyed agree with the Government’s view that legislation for an emissions trading scheme needs to be passed before the world summit on climate change being held in Copenhagen in December.  38% agree with the view of the Opposition in that Australia should delay making any decisions on an emissions trading scheme until after the world summit, and 29% don’t know.

The number of people that agree with the view of the Opposition has increased slightly (+2%) since we last asked this question in June, while the number of those that agree with the Government has stayed the same.

People aged 55 years and over were more likely to agree with the view of the Opposition’s view that the introduction of an emissions trading scheme should wait until after the world summit (55%), while people aged 34 years or less were more likely to agree with the Government’s view regarding the introduction of the scheme before the world summit (38%).

Males were more likely than females to agree with the view of the Opposition on this issue (44% v 34%).

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