Polling | 25 November 2015

2015 Lowy Institute polling: Views on climate action ahead of United Nations climate negotiations in Paris

As the world begins negotiations at the Paris international climate negotiations next week, the majority of adult Australians (62%) say the Government should be prepared to make stronger commitments on emissions reductions in the interests of reaching a global agreement, according to Lowy Institute polling conducted last month. Only 36% say the government should ‘stick to its target regardless of what other countries do’.

The telephone poll, conducted between 25 October and 4 November this year, confirmed the upward trend in concern about climate change which the Lowy Institute has recorded in successive polls since 2012. 

More than half of the Australian population – 52% – now say global warming is ‘a serious and pressing problem. We should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs’.  This is an increase of 16 percentage points since 2012.

Despite this rising concern, Australians are divided on the best economic policy to deal with the problem of carbon emissions.

When forced to choose between the current Direct Action scheme and a price on carbon or emissions trading scheme, marginally more Australians (51%) say we should ‘continue the Government’s Direct Action plan which pays businesses for emissions reduction projects’. Nevertheless, despite the abolition of the carbon tax in 2014, a surprising 43% would prefer that the Australian Government ‘introduce an emissions trading scheme or price on carbon, where people pay for their carbon emissions’.

  • Alex Oliver

As the world begins negotiations at the Paris international climate negotiations next week, the majority of adult Australians (62%) say the Government should be prepared to make stronger commitments on emissions reductions in the interests of reaching a global agreement, according to Lowy Institute polling conducted last month. Only 36% say the government should ‘stick to its target regardless of what other countries do’.

The telephone poll, conducted between 25 October and 4 November this year, confirmed the upward trend in concern about climate change which the Lowy Institute has recorded in successive polls since 2012. 

More than half of the Australian population – 52% – now say global warming is ‘a serious and pressing problem. We should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs’.  This is an increase of 16 percentage points since 2012.

Despite this rising concern, Australians are divided on the best economic policy to deal with the problem of carbon emissions.

When forced to choose between the current Direct Action scheme and a price on carbon or emissions trading scheme, marginally more Australians (51%) say we should ‘continue the Government’s Direct Action plan which pays businesses for emissions reduction projects’. Nevertheless, despite the abolition of the carbon tax in 2014, a surprising 43% would prefer that the Australian Government ‘introduce an emissions trading scheme or price on carbon, where people pay for their carbon emissions’.

  • Alex Oliver

POLL QUESTIONS AND RESULTS

 

Question 1


Thinking now about global warming. There is a controversy over what the countries of the world, including Australia, should do about the problem of global warming. I’m going to read you three statements. Please tell me which statement comes closest to your own point of view.

 

 

2006

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015
(Feb-Mar)

2015
(Oct-Nov)

Global warming is a serious and pressing problem. We should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs

68%

60%

48%

46%

41%

36%

40%

45%

50%

52%

The problem of global warming should be addressed, but its effects will be gradual, so we can deal with the problem gradually by taking steps that are low in cost

24%

32%

39%

40%

40%

45%

44%

38%

38%

36%

Until we are sure that global warming is really a problem, we should not take any steps that would have economic costs

7%

8%

13%

13%

19%

18%

16%

15%

12%

11%

Don’t know / refused

1%

*

1%

1%

1%

1%

1%

2%

*

1%

 

Question 2

The Australian Government has set a target for Australia to reduce its emissions by the year 2030, to 26-28% below the emissions produced in the year 2005. It will use these targets in a UN international conference next month, where nations will try to negotiate a global agreement on climate change. 

Which one of the following statements most closely represents your personal view of the approach the Government should take in the negotiations?

 

It should be prepared to make stronger commitments on emissions reductions in the interests of reaching a global agreement

 62%

It should stick to its target regardless of what other countries do

36%

Don’t know / no view / makes no difference / don’t care / don’t believe in climate change / refused

2%

 

 

Question 3

In your personal view, which one of the following would you most prefer that the Australian Government do to reduce carbon emissions?

 

Continue the Government’s Direct Action plan which pays businesses for emissions reduction projects

51%

Introduce an emissions trading scheme or price on carbon, where people pay for their carbon emissions

43%

Neither

4%

Don’t know / no view

2%

 

 

Notes

These results are drawn from a nationally representative telephone poll of 1,002 Australian adults conducted on behalf of the Lowy Institute by Fieldworks between 25 October and 4 November 2015. The error margin on the poll is approximately 3.1%.