Press Releases

Australian attitudes heating up about climate change, 2014 Lowy Institute Poll finds

4 June 2014

Public opinion on climate change is emerging as a challenge for the Abbott Government, according to the latest Lowy Institute Poll released today.

This year, 45% 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’. Concern is up 5 points since 2013 and 9 points since 2012.

‘After successive polls revealed declining concern about climate change between 2006 and 2012, this year’s Poll shows that the trend-line has turned, and that Australians’ concern about climate change is now on the rise’, said Alex Oliver, Director of the Poll.

When asked about international policy on global warming and carbon emissions, 63% of Australians say the government should be taking a leadership role on reducing carbon emissions. Only 28% say it should wait for an international consensus, and a fraction (7%) say the government should do nothing.

‘What’s even more striking about these results is that most Australians have very strong views on the leadership role their government should take on climate change’, Ms Oliver said.

The full report will be available on the Lowy Institute website on Wednesday 4 June at 12.01 a.m., together with the updated 2014 Lowy Institute Poll Interactive – a data visualisation tool exploring key results from 10 years of Lowy Institute polling.

The 2014 Lowy Institute Poll is based on a nationally representative telephone survey of 1,000 Australian adults between 12 and 27 February 2014. An additional 150 adults aged 18-29 years of age were also surveyed on questions about democracy, threats to Australia’s vital interests, climate change and feelings towards other countries. The Poll’s error margin on the 1000 sample is approximately +/- 3.1%.