From the ABC – 7 December 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 10Vote LaborVote Lib/NatVote Greens
Climate change is happening and is caused by human activity45%53%32%76%
We are just witnessing a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate36%27%53%14%
Don’t know19%20%15%10%

Since we began polling climate change in 2008, this is the first time we have seen acceptance of climate change slip under 50 per cent. In the lead-up to Copenhagen the number was 56 per cent and this was in the wake of Tony Abbott’s ascent to Opposition Leader and his conscious decision to polarise the issue.

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