Sustainability Victoria’s new research on community attitudes to climate change ought to be a wakeup call to the federal government and every other government around the country. Not to mention business interests.
The work, SV’s Climate Change Social Research was conducted by Wallis Research, which interviewed 3333 Victorians using methodologies that SV says can be projected to the broader population with confidence.
“The survey estimates have a high level of statistical reliability. (At the 95 per cent level of confidence, the margin of error associated with the sample of 3300 is plus or minus 2.5 per cent),” the survey report says.trong support for climate action and clean energy including direct willingness to engage, point not just to massive political support for action, but a huge economic boom in sustainability waiting to explode, evidenced by this
Key among the findings are very strong support for climate action and clean energy, including direct willingness to engage. Together these point to not just strong voter support for political action on climate, but a huge economic boom in sustainability waiting to explode. This subset of the findings is clear evidence:
- Three-quarters of Victorians are interested in purchasing 100 per cent green power for their home
- Three-quarters are interested in generating their own power and feeding excess back into the system
- Seven in 10 are interested in solar battery storage systems.
Following is a summary of key findings
Victorians are concerned about climate change – it is an issue that needs action now
- 91 per cent know that climate change is happening and that human activity is contributing to it
- Only 4 per cent say there is no such thing as climate change
- 3 per cent believe climate change is entirely due to natural processes
- 33 per cent of the population rate climate change in the top three most important issues facing the state.
Four out of five Victorians (78 per cent) are concerned about climate change.
- The things people worry about most in relation to climate change include: The effects upon future generations (76 per cent)
- The state of the planet (48 per cent)
- The impacts upon the quality of life and their health (38 per cent).
The population is engaged on the issue with three-quarters of Victorians stating they are interested in news items, documentaries and other forms of information on climate change.
Over three-quarters believe climate change is an urgent issue that needs action now.
Victorians believe their actions can make a positive difference
Self-efficacy is an important part of an individual’s decision to take action – generally people are more likely to consider an action if they believe the action will make a difference. Self?efficacy among Victorians is positive with 82 per cent believing that “I can do meaningful things to reduce the impact of climate change”.
A clear majority of Victorians are willing to take action on climate change
Four out of five Victorians are willing to take action on climate change.
Seven in ten agree that they would feel positive about being part of a community that is working together to tackle climate change.
Victorians see action on climate change as the responsibility of all individuals – 93 per cent believe that individuals should be taking action on climate change, either contributing, 77 per cent, or leading in their community, 16 per cent.
This “willingness to act” is reflected in higher-than-expected levels of interest in a number of advanced pro-climate change actions
- Three-quarters of Victorians are interested in purchasing 100 per cent green power for their home.
- Three-quarters are interested in generating their own power and feeding excess back into the system.
- Seven in 10 are interested in solar battery storage systems.
- Just over half are interested in taking part in community renewable energy projects.
- Just over half are interested in buying an electric or more fuel efficient car.
Victorians believe that government and business should be acting on climate change
Almost all, 95 per cent, believe that the Australian government should be taking action on climate change. The majority hold the view that the Australian government should be leading action (68 per cent).
Almost all, 93 per cent, believe that the state government should be acting on climate change – either in a leadership role (48 per cent) or as a contributor (44 per cent).
Only 7 per cent of Victorians think the state government should take no action.
Nine in 10 (88 per cent) also believe that local government should be acting on climate change – most think they should contribute (55 per cent) rather than lead (33 per cent).
The community also expects action on climate change from: Environmental groups, 89 per cent. Respondents are fairly evenly split on whether environmental groups should lead (43 per cent) or contribute (46 per cent)
Business and industry, 93 per cent. Most think business and industry should contribute to action (59 per cent) rather than lead (34 per cent)
The majority of Victorians want more action from the state government
One in five think the Victorian government is doing enough but more than half (61 per cent) think they should be doing more.
Climate change impacts have been observed by most Victorians and there is concern about future impacts
Approximately 50–60 per cent of all Victorians believe there has been an increase in the occurrence of environmental events in this state over the past ten years, including:
- severe bushfires
- storms and floods
- coastal erosion
- crop failures/declining agriculture
- air pollution
More than half of the population is concerned about the effects these environmental events might cause their family in the foreseeable future.
Of those who had observed increases in the occurrence of extreme weather events in Victoria, the clear majority (70–85 per cent) believe climate change is influencing this.
There is strong support for the Victorian government’s Climate Change agenda – targets are strongly supported
Net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050
- One-quarter (24 per cent) of Victorians are aware of the net zero emissions by 2050 target
- Four out of five Victorians (78 per cent) support the government’s zero emissions target. Support increases to nine in ten among those aged 40 or under.
Renewable energy targets
(25 per cent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2020, and 40 per cent by 2025)
One-quarter (24 per cent) of Victorians are aware of the renewable energy targets
84 per cent of Victorians support the target. Similar to the zero emissions target, support increases to over nine out of ten among those aged 40 or under.
Victorians are particularly supportive of renewable energy
- 75 per cent would support wind turbines in their local area providing the community with renewable energy
- 89 per cent would support solar panels in their local area providing access to renewable energy