Voters prefer low emissions target to carbon trading, poll reveals

Australian voters would back a new low emissions target over emissions trading as a policy to reduce carbon pollution, but are not sure about including “clean” coal in the mix, according to the latest Guardian Essential poll.

A new clean energy target is the centrepiece of the review of the national electricity market by Australia’s chief scientist, Alan Finkel, handed to the prime minister and the state premiers last week.

In the latest survey of 1,785 voters, 45 per cent of the sample preferred a low emissions target to carbon trading, while 20 per cent endorsed an emissions intensity scheme. Thirty-six per cent said they didn’t know which option was best.

The voters most likely to prefer a low emissions target were people aged 65+ (51 per cent), Liberal/National voters (51 per cent) and high-income earners. Greens voters preferred carbon trading to a target.

According the The Guardian, government conservatives, egged on by the Canberra-based lobby group representing the resources industry, are pushing to have high-efficiency coal included the new scheme, but the poll indicates Australian voters aren’t sure.

Asked whether they thought coal generation with 100 per cent capture and storage should be considered a “low emission” energy source under the proposed low emissions target, 27 per cent of respondents agreed, 29 per cent said no and 44 per cent of the sample were unsure.

Voters most likely to think coal should be in the mix were Coalition supporters (36 per cent), men (33 per cent) and older people. People most likely to have the contrary view were Greens voters (55 per cent), people under 24 (37 per cent) and South Australians (35 per cent).