Reaching Net Zero Is a Growing Concern for Aussies and That’s a Problem for Politicians


Australia and the world are gearing up for a big climate summit in November and it looks to be one of the most important for a generation.

The world has changed considerably since the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015. Australia, the Americas, and Europe have been rocked by huge and unprecedented wildfires. Africa has been plagued by drought while Asia has seen devastating floods.

It’s apparent to everyone that climate change is real and it’s happening right now. Young people most of all seem to get this message and we’ve seen the rise of figures like Greta Thunberg and the School Strike movement over the past few years alone.

It seems as though world leaders are finally ready to not only listen but to act seriously on climate change. The US has committed to vast international spending to help developing countries transition to green energy while China has basically ended the coal era by refusing to finance overseas coal projects.

Australia is looking increasingly isolated on climate change and the recent election of Dominic Perrottet, who has previously compared climate action to a religious devotion of the left and described spending on it as “waste,” doesn’t help our position.

The possible absence of Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the upcoming climate summit puts Aussies in the position of asking whether we would be more embarrassed by Morrison being there or not being there.

It remains to be seen though how long the government can hold out on its denialist position as both internal and external pressure mounts. With a federal election looming in 2022, it seems that Aussies are no longer willing to put up with the sluggish rate of change.

New research from leading strategic insights consultancy Nature reveals that 89% of Australians are familiar with the term “net zero emissions”, and more than four in 10 believe the Government is largely responsible for ensuring Australia hits a concrete net zero emissions target by 2050.

The research, which was conducted in early October with 1000 people representative of the national population, found awareness of net-zero emissions as a concept has risen from 84% over the past three months.

Less than a quarter of the people surveyed thought that responsibility for achieving net-zero emissions rested largely with individuals: 44% said it rested with government and 33% said businesses or organisations.

Nature’s research found that more than three-quarters of Australians expected all businesses to be doing everything they could to be environmentally friendly.

More than 60% of respondents said they think “very highly” of brands that are environmentally friendly, but at the same time, 55% said the claims businesses make about environmental sustainability are confusing.

While nine out of 10 Australians are familiar with the net-zero emissions term, 35% say they have only heard of it and lack a significant understanding of the issue.

Nature Managing Partner, Chris Crook, said: “With the rising pressure on net zero emissions targets ahead of the UN Glasgow summit next month, Australians are becoming increasingly aware of the net-zero emissions issue and their understanding is likely to rise.

“Right now, consumers are confused about the claims businesses are making around net-zero emissions, but their expectation remains high that businesses should be doing all they can for the environment.

“Purpose-led businesses have moved to the forefront of consumer conversation, and net-zero emissions are a growing part of that conversation,” he said.

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