MEDIA RELEASE – 2019 LOWY INSTITUTE POLL – AUSTRALIAN ATTITUDES TO CLIMATE CHANGE
CLIMATE CHANGE A LEADING THREAT TO AUSTRALIA’S INTERESTS
In 2019, Australians rank climate change at the top of a list of ten possible threats to Australia's vital interests in the next ten years. A majority of Australian adults (64%) see climate change as ‘a critical threat’, an increase of six points from 2018 and 18 points since 2014.
- Climate change was the top-ranked threat, along with: cyberattacks from other countries (62% saying critical threat), international terrorism (61%) and North Korea’s nuclear program (60%).
- This is the first time climate change has led the list of threats since the Lowy Institute first asked this question in the 2006 Lowy Institute Poll.
Six in ten Australians (61%) in 2019 say ‘global warming is a serious and pressing problem [and] we should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs,’ continuing the dramatic reversal of attitudes since 2012 (an increase of 25 points). The peak of concern was recorded in 2006, when 68% of the population expressed this view.
- 28% say ‘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’.
- 10% say ‘until we are sure that global warming is really a problem, we should not take any steps that would have economic costs’.
The results reveal a difference in attitudes between generations: three quarters of younger Australians aged 18-44 (76%, up six points from 2018) say global warming is a “serious and pressing problem”. By contrast, fewer than half (49%) of Australians aged over 45 share this concern.
A majority of Australians (59%) say Labor would do a better job of managing Australia’s response to climate change than the Coalition. The Coalition is preferred on a number of other foreign policy issues, including national security and economic management.
The Lowy Institute Poll 2019 full report and results will be released in June. Historical data is available at www.lowyinstitutepoll.lowyinstitute.org
The 2019 Lowy Institute Poll reports the results of a nationally representative online and telephone survey conducted on behalf of the Lowy Institute by the Social Research Centre between 12 and 25 March 2019 with a sample size of 2130 Australian adults. On a simple random sample of 2130 responses, the margin of error is approximately 2.1%. Where a complex sample is used, the 'design effect' measures the additional variance in comparison with a simple random sample. The design effect for this survey is estimated at 2.40.