Report: 81 per cent of Australians worried about climate change


Eight in 10 Australians (81 per cent) are now concerned about climate change resulting in more droughts and flooding, according to a new benchmark report released today by the Australia Institute.

The annual Climate of the Nation benchmark report has tracked Australian attitudes on climate change for over a decade. This is the second Climate of the Nation report produced by The Australia Institute, after being produced for a decade by the Climate Institute.

The 2019 Climate of the Nation report, to be launched by Zali Steggall OAM, Federal Member for Warringah, finds that:

  • Eight in 10 (81 per cent) Australians are concerned that climate change will result in more droughts and flooding, up from 78 per cent in 2018
  • Majority of Australians (68 per cent) agree that the Government should plan for an orderly phase-out of coal so that workers and communities can be prepared
  • Majority of Australians (54 per cent) reject the idea that Australia should not act on climate change until other major emitters like US and China do so (25 per cent agree we should not act, 21 per cent neutral/don’t know)
  • Almost two thirds of Australians (64 per cent) think the country should have a national target for net-zero emissions by 2050, similar to the United Kingdom
  • Most Australians blame increasing electricity prices on the excessive profit margins of electricity companies (57 per cent, up from 55 per cent) or the privatisation of electricity infrastructure (55 per cent, up from 52 per cent).

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“This latest report shows that Australians support far more ambitious climate and energy policies than the Federal Government is currently delivering,” Ms Steggall said.

“Australians are rightly concerned about more extreme heat waves, droughts and bushfires and they want the Morrison Government to show leadership on climate change and do more to prepare for the impacts that are already locked in.”

Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Director at the Australia Institute, agreed.

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“Climate change is driving economic policy, diplomacy and politics in Australia. That is why this benchmark report is more important than ever in 2019,” Mr Merzian said.

“Australians are well aware of what is required, and see addressing climate change as a multi-partisan issue that ought to be above politics. Just look at the United Kingdom, which recently legislated a target of net-zero emissions by 2050.

“Ahead of the UN Global Climate Summit in New York in September, the public want to see the Australian Government take a leadership role when it comes to global action on climate change. Most reject the notion that Australia need not act before the US or China do.”