Press Releases

2015 Lowy Institute Poll finds rapidly shifting attitudes on climate issues and strong views about solar

16 June 2015

The 2015 Lowy Institute Poll, released today, has recorded the third consecutive rise in Australians’ concern about global warming: 50% of Australian adults now say that ‘global warming is a serious and pressing problem. We should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs’.This is the highest result on this question since 2009. Concern is up 5 points since 2014 and 14 points in total since 2012.

“There is now a very clear turnaround in Australian public opinion on climate change. After a period of declining concern, our last three polls show a strong rise in the number of Australians seeking action on global warming now, regardless of cost”, said Dr Michael Fullilove, Executive Director of the Lowy Institute.

In the lead-up to the UN climate conference in Paris later this year, we also asked Australians their views on the approach the Government should take in international climate negotiations: a solid 63% majority say the Government should commit to significant emissions reductions so that other countries will be encouraged to do the same. 

Asked which of seven possible energy sources will be Australia’s primary source of electricity in ten years’ time,solar energy is by far the highest-ranked option: 43% say solar will be the primary electricity source in ten years; coal, the next highest result, was seen as the primary source by only 17%. Nuclear energy ranked third, selected by 13% as the primary electricity source in ten years.

 “It’s pretty clear that Australians see a strong role for solar energy in our future energy mix. What’s also striking is the significant numbers who see a role for nuclear energy, despite the fact we have no nuclear energy plants nor any prospect of them in the current policy framework”, said Alex Oliver, Director of the Poll.

The full report is available on the Lowy Institute website, together with the updated 2015 Lowy Institute Poll Interactive – a data visualisation tool exploring key results from 11 years of Lowy Institute polling.

These results are drawn from a nationally representative telephone survey of 1200 Australian adults by I-view for the 2015 Lowy Institute Poll between 20 February and 8 March 2015. The Poll’s error margin is approximately +/- 2.8%.