With an election scheduled for 21 May, an annual survey from Ipsos has found that the majority of Australians are concerned about climate change and believe that the federal government has the power to take action.
The Ipsos Climate Change Report 2022 reveals that the majority of Australians in both the city and the regions are concerned about climate change (83 per cent) and agree that Australia is already being affected by climate change (70 per cent). Mostly due to more frequent and extreme natural disaster events we have been seeing across the country, there has been a steady increase in concern from 56 per cent in 2011.
The multinational market research and consulting firm conducted more than 1000 interviews of Australians aged 18 years and above, in both rural and urban areas.
The results show that Australians don’t think the federal government is doing enough.
Key findings include:
- most (83 per cent) Australians are concerned about climate change
- a large majority (70 per cent) agree that Australia is already being affected by climate change, up from 56 per cent in 2011
- just under three-quarters (72 per cent) consider that the federal government has the power to influence climate change through decisions made, with 52 per cent considering it has “a lot” of power
- Nearly half (44 per cent) think the existing government measures are ”too little”
Voting intentions are clear when it comes to climate change policy:
- one in five (19 per cent) think the environment is “the most important issue” they will be considering when deciding who to vote for
- 59 per cent either are currently, or are thinking about, taking climate change policies into account when choosing who to vote for
- Australians who have a two-party preference towards the ALP are more likely to prioritise the environment in their decision making process, and believe the environment and the economy to be equally important in their voting choices (29 per cent consider it the most important issue – making it equally as important as the economy at 28 per cent)
“Awareness and expectations among Australians regarding our climate are growing,” Ipsos public affairs director Stuart Clark said.
It seems that Australians want climate action, and this is likely to be reflected in voting decision making.
“There is a concern among Australians and a desire for the government to act. Policy will be a key part of the people’s decision making coming into the election. The question is how the key players will manage it given there is a divide in the community as to what is too much or too little action.”
Two thirds (66 per cent) agree that Australia should be doing more to address climate change and 64 per cent want Australia to become a global leader in emissions reduction.
There is little difference between the cities and the regions when it comes to perceptions of climate change and expectations of the government to act.
Australians want more commitment from business as well
Respondents also said that the government has a role in helping businesses to effect positive impacts on climate change.
Nearly two thirds of people (65 per cent) believe there should be a focus on helping businesses become leading innovators, especially with renewables
The perceived performance of all levels of government (in Australia and overseas) was found to be negative compared to perceptions of not-for-profits, small and medium businesses, and individual action.
But only 40 per cent of Australians consider that businesses in Australia are committed to climate change.
Sectors that are most considered to be able to have positive impacts are resources, mining, oil, and gas (46 per cent), energy (43 per cent), transport (31 per cent) and automotive (31 per cent).
“Australians see a role particularly for governments and large businesses to drive positive change utilising policy, improved technologies and increased transparency,” Mr Clark said.