The annual Ipsos Climate Change Report 2022 shows that most Australians are concerned about climate change and believe that Australia is already being affected.
83% of those surveyed in a representative poll of 1000 people said they were concerned, with 70% saying they expect to see more frequent and extreme natural disaster events like the recent floods in the Northern Rivers region of NSW
This is a steady increase in concern, and up from 56% in 2011.
However, the proportion of people expressing doubt about whether climate change is actually occurring has remained relatively steady over the same period. 24% of Aussies currently hold this view, however, the level of doubt is significantly higher in NSW, where almost one in three aren’t sure it’s happening.
The data, collected in March 2022, shows that Australians believe governments have the biggest role to play in taking action to address climate change, as opposed to individuals or small and medium-sized businesses.
How Climate Change Will Affect the Election
Opinions seem divided on whether current Federal Government measures to address climate change are too much, too little, or about right.
10% of the population think the government is doing too much, 30% think they’re doing about right, and 44% think they are not doing enough.
Even though regional Australians are generally more affected by natural disasters and the impacts of climate change, their views aren’t significantly different to those in major cities over whether the government is doing enough on climate change.
People in NSW are significantly more likely to agree that the Federal Government’s measures are about right (37%), while 12% of NSW residents think the government is doing too much.
As to how this plays out at the election, there are some clear voting intentions when it comes to climate change policy.
One in five Australians (19%) say that the environment is the most important issue they will be considering when deciding who to vote for.
59% of Australians either currently are considering or will consider taking into account policies to address climate change when deciding who to vote for.
The data shows that metropolitan, inner regional, outer regional, and remotely based Australians are similarly aligned on climate change and expectations of government to act.
Those inclined to vote Labor appear more likely to prioritise the environment in their decision-making process. 29% of Labor voters consider the environment the most important issue, putting it on par with the economy at 28%.
Ipsos Public Affairs Director, Stuart Clark, said that “Awareness and expectations among Australians regarding our climate are growing”.
“There is a concern among Australians and a desire for the government to act. Policy will be a key part of the people’s decision-making coming into the election. The question is how the key players will manage it given there is a divide in the community as to what is too much or too little action.”
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