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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Labor should tread (water) warily

Oct 19, 2010

First Published on The Drum 19/10/2010

As the Federal Government attempts to quell the backlash to its plans to save the Murray Darling by slowing the process to a crawl, it would do well to consider the lessons of the recently aborted Emissions Trading Scheme.

If there were a structured training program for politicians (and maybe there should be) the former Rudd government’s failure to deliver on its commitment to address climate change would be a required text.

It is a story of how tortured process can kill off reform, confuse would-be supporters, drain the public of confidence in their government and ultimately leave leaders in a no-win situation.

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Importance of ETS

Sep 27, 2010

Q. How important for Australia do you think it is for the new Labor Government to move quickly to implement an emissions trading scheme or some other scheme (such as a tax on carbon) to address climate change?

Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens


Very Important 37% 54% 20% 72%
Not that Important 27% 12% 47% 5%
A top priority 13% 18% 6% 40%
Very important 24% 36% 14% 32%
Somewhat important 26% 29% 24% 19%
Not that important 14% 6% 24% 3%
Not important at all 13% 6% 23% 2%
Don’t know 10% 5% 8% 4%

37% of people think it is very important to implement an ETS or other scheme to address climate change.

54% of Labor voters, compared with 20% of Lib/Nat voters think it is very important to implement an ETS or other scheme to address climate change. 72% of Green voters think it is very important to implement an ETS or other scheme to address climate change.

48% of those aged 18-24, compared with 26% of those aged 65+ it is very important to implement an ETS or other scheme to address climate change.

42% of Victorians, compared with 30% of Queenslanders it is very important to implement an ETS or other scheme to address climate change.

There was no significant difference between the genders.

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View of Kevin Rudd

May 24, 2010

If a little less or much less favourable –

Q. And which of the following would you say has been the main reason for your view of Kevin Rudd and the Labor Government becoming less favourable in recent weeks?

Not honouring their election commitments 24%
Too much spending 15%
Too soft on asylum seekers 15%
Problems with insulation and school building programs 13%
The 40% tax on mining companies 12%
Postponing introduction of ETS to address climate change 7%
Too tough on asylum seekers 4%
Some other reason 7%
No particular reason 6%

 Sample size = 642

Of those who had a less favourable view of Kevin Rudd and the Labor Government, 24% said their main reason was not honouring their election commitments, 15% too much spending and 15% thought the Government was too soft on asylum seekers.

Among Labor voters the main reasons were not honouring election commitments (30%) and problems with the insulation and school building programs (14%).

For Coalition voters the main reasons were not honouring election commitments (27%), the 40% tax on mining companies (18%) and too much spending (17%).

For Greens voters the main reasons were postponing the introduction of the ETS (34%) and problems with then insulation and school building programs (16%). Comments »

View of Tony Abbott

May 24, 2010

If a little more or much more favourable –

Q. And which of the following would you say has been the main reason for your view of Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party becoming more favourable in recent weeks?

Tony Abbott is more in touch with ordinary Australians 21%
They would cut Government spending 20%
They oppose the 40% tax on mining companies 15%
They would be tough on asylum seekers 12%
Liberal Party is more united under Tony Abbott 11%
They oppose introduction of ETS to address climate change 9%
Some other reason 4%
No particular reason 8%

Sample size = 269

The main reasons for having a more favourable view of Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party were that Tony Abbott is more in touch with ordinary Australians (21%) and the Liberals would cut Government spending (20%). Opposing the 40% tax on mining companies rated third with 15%.

For Coalition voters the main reasons were that Tony Abbott is more in touch with ordinary Australians (24%) and the Liberals would cut Government spending (24%).

27% of those on higher incomes (over $1,000 pw) said Tony Abbott is more in touch with ordinary Australians compared to 12% of those on lower incomes (under $1,000 pw). Comments »

Approval of ETS Decision

May 3, 2010

Q. The Federal Government has announced that it has postponed introducing an emissions trading scheme (ETS) to address climate change for 3 years. Do you approve or disapprove of the Government’s decision not to introduce an ETS for 3 years?

  Total Labor voters Lib/Nat voters Greens voters
Total approve 38% 40% 47% 21%
Total disapprove 41% 40% 37% 76%
Strongly approve 12% 9% 19% 7%
Approve 26% 31% 28% 14%
Disapprove 27% 31% 25% 30%
Strongly disapprove 14% 9% 12% 46%
Don’t know 22% 20% 16% 4%

 Opinions are divided over the Government postponing a decision on introducing an ETS – 38% approve and 41% disapprove.

Labor voters are evenly split (40% approve/40% disapprove) while Liberal/National voters are a little more likely to approve (47% approve/37% disapprove). 76% of Greens voters disapprove and 21% approve.

46% of men approve (39% disapprove) compared to 31% of women (43% disapprove). Comments »

Addressing climate change

Jan 25, 2010

Q. The Federal Government says placing a price on carbon is crucial to addressing climate change as there must be a strong incentive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors to achieve the cuts necessary. The Opposition says the Government’s plan to include a price on carbon as part of its proposed emissions trading scheme is nothing more than a new tax. Do you agree more with the Government or more with the Opposition?

  %
Agree more with the Government 30%
Agree more with the Opposition 45%
Don’t know 24%

 Just under half (48%) of those surveyed agree with the Opposition’s view that the Government’s plan to include a price on carbon as part of its proposed emissions trading scheme is nothing more than a new tax.   30% agree with the Federal Government’s view that placing a price on carbon is crucial to addressing climate change as there must be a strong incentive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors to achieve the cuts necessary.  Just under one quarter (24%) don’t know whether they agree with the Government or the Opposition on the issue of placing a price on carbon. 

 Labor voters were more likely to agree with the Government’s view (58%) while Coalition voters were more likely to agree with the Opposition (78%).  22% of Labor voters agree with the Opposition’s view that placing a price on carbon is nothing more than a new tax. 

 44% of Green voters agree with the Government and 37% of these same voters agree with the Opposition.  

 Males were more likely to agree with the Government (34%) while females were more likely to indicate they don’t know (28%).

People aged 55 years and over were more likely to agree with the Opposition’s view on the issue (60%) while those aged 18 – 24 were more likely to agree with the Government (38%). Comments »

Political Party Positions on the ETS

Dec 7, 2009

Q. Whose position on the ETS and tackling climate change do you most agree with?

%
Kevin Rudd and Labor 24%
Tony Abbott and the Coalition 27%
Bob Brown and Greens 17%
Don’t know 32%

When it comes to the position that various parties have on the ETS and tackling climate change, 27% of people agree with the position of Tony Abbott and the Coalition, 24% agree with Kevin Rudd and Labor and 17% agree with Bob Brown and the Greens.  32% of people don’t know which position they agree with regarding an ETS and tackling climate change.

The results followed party lines – Labor voters were more likely to agree with Labor’s position (49%), Coalition voters were more likely to agree with the Coalition (67%) and Green voters were more likely to agree with the Green’s position (80%).   30% of Labor voters, 21% of Coalition voters and 9% of Green voters don’t know which position they agree with most.

Males were more likely to agree with the position of Abbott and the Coalition (31%), while females were more likely to indicate that they don’t know (36%).

People aged 55 years and over were more likely to agree with Abbott and the Coalition regarding climate change and an ETS (42%).

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