The last federal election was touted by the media, environmental groups, the Greens and Labor as the climate election, but it wasn’t. Labor lost the election to the Morrison led Coalition.
Climate action is still the high priority of the media and political elites, yet a survey of 2033 voters by Australian National University researchers about two months after the 2019 federal election found that only 13 per cent of voters rated climate action as their most important issue, even if 80 per cent said they broadly supported cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
What’s new? This is the same as in many other countries.
As I wrote in News Weekly (August 26, 2020):
When Pew Research asked Americans to rate it among other issues such as strength of the economy, healthcare costs, education and terrorism, “dealing with climate change” came in last of 16 policy options in 2011; second last out of 17 policies in 2015, joint second last out of 18 options in 2018, and 17th from 18 issues in 2019.
When the United Nations conducted a global internet poll with seven million respondents in 2015, “action taken on climate change” was ranked last out of 16 global issues. While it was not a scientific poll, it was significant that the respondents were mostly young people from developing countries.
In 2018, the 25th quarterly wave of BEIS’s Energy and Climate Change Public Attitudes Tracker representative poll found that “climate change” came in sixth of the 10 biggest challenges facing Britain.
A 2018 Abacus representative poll in Canada found that “shifting … to a clean energy economy” came in number 12 out of 14 public policy priorities, and “taking action on climate change” came in last.
A 2017 IPSOS poll found that half of Australians were not confident in their understanding climate science.
Perhaps this latter poll explains why a 2017 IPSOS poll found 78 per cent of French citizens though their nation’s nuclear power plants contributed “a lot” or “a little” of greenhouse gases, when operating nuclear plants don’t contribute any.
Read my full article on the issue here.
This begs the question, when will governments stop shaping policy based on polling that fails to put climate issues in perspective, and get on with building low cost, base load, coal fired power stations?
How will Australia build a strong industrial base and be competitive if industry does not have access to low-cost electricity?