The Climate Institute has released Climate of the Nation 2015, its annual review of public attitudes on climate change and its solutions.
Even in the face of stinging attacks from the Coalition, renewable energy has become even more popular with the Australian public – and fossil fuels less so.
Among all energy sources, solar power leads in popularity at 84 per cent, up 2 points on last year. Women turned out to be the strongest supporters of solar energy; with 86% ranking it their most preferred choice, compared to 81% of men.
Solar power is followed by wind at 69% (up 5 points on last year).
The popularity of both gas and nuclear crashed 7 points to 21 and 13 per cent respectively; making nuclear and coal tied as least preferred energy sources.
That the end is nigh for coal fired power generation has gained awareness among Australians. 71 per cent agree that it is inevitable Australia’s current coal fired generation will need to be replaced with clean energy.
Labor’s recent announcement of a goal of 50% renewable energy seem to be more in harmony with Australians than the Federal Government’s approach; however, the Climate Institute notes the ALP will need to do a good job in communicating the details of their climate and energy related policies.
65% of Australians agreed reducing investment in wind farms and reducing the subsidies for residential solar power is the opposite of what is needed, whereas only 11% disagreed.
In this year’s survey, 89 per cent of respondents said they believed humans are at least partly the cause for climate change, up from 85% last year. 67 per cent agreed governments need to regulate carbon pollution.
The report notes research demonstrates some politicians and business leaders are increasingly out of touch with strengthening public attitudes on climate change and related solutions.
“The government and the opposition have an opportunity to join mainstream Australian attitudes with climate commitments and policies which can limit carbon pollution, encourage renewable energy and clean up our energy system,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute.
A nationally representative online survey was conducted by Galaxy Research between 27 and 29 July, 2015 among 1,016 Australians aged 18+.
The full Climate of the Nation 2015 report can be viewed here.