A new survey by the Climate Institute on attitudes to climate change shows the majority are concerned for the environment, but confusion reigns supreme.
After years of vigorous and at times toxic debate, more than 1000 people surveyed gave an amazing array of answers …. Sixty-nine per cent thought humans were causing it. But when asked to explain the Gillard Government’s carbon pricing scheme, focus groups returned blank stares.
The reality is of course that climate scientists have a limited understanding of our climate, and that most Australians are suspicious that a tax can change the weather.
Try not to throw up reading the actual report: Climate of The Nation. For starters, the low contrast colors in baby blue and penitentiary-grey-brown are designed not to be read, but to be absorbed. The layout and feel is very much the style of a baby formula brochure. Bask in the “atmosphere” as you scan, but bring out your magnifying glass if you actually want to read it. The sickly sweet, staged photos announce that The Climate Institute has money to waste — your money. Only the most ultra trendoid marketing and PR agencies need apply for the job of selling The Carbon Pox to the nation.
What do these results mean? Who knows? I can’t find the actual survey questions, so at this stage: nothing. I mean “two thirds say climate change is occurring”. Really? (So 36% think Climate Sameness is a possibility?) The language and the mindless labels wait like trolls under the bridge to suck any sane analysis out of loaded questions on a road to nowhere.
Nearly all skeptics think the climate is changing, so when faced with an inanity like “do you believe in Climate Change?”, a skeptic can be either literal and straight, or play the game where they try to guess what the researchers were really attempting to find.
On the plus side, the way I read these results suggests:
- That 45% of the population is not concerned about climate change.
- Only 28% support the carbon pricing laws. (28%? that’s the number today of the ALP primary vote). The 28% rises when people are falsely told that all the money goes to households and the poor renewables lot. How many would support it if they knew 10% was feeding the UN bureaucrats, and another large slab would go to major financial brokers, auditors, lawyers, accountants, media, marketing and advertising campaigns? (Can we get some lawyers onto this point? Is this false advertising coming from The Climate Institute? Can they really claim that “all the revenue goes to support households, business and clean, renewable energy”?)
On the down side, we still have 20 years of propaganda to overcome and really only about 10% of the population are aware of just how scandalously vacant this issue and the Green NGO’s are. There is a lot of work to do.
- Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) agreed that climate change is occurring. Seventeen per cent said that they did not believe that climate change is occurring; almost a fifth (19 per cent) were unsure. A fifth agreed that humans are the main cause, with 49 per cent saying it was due to a mixture of human causes and natural cycles.
- Most Australians (54 per cent) are still concerned about climate change. This has dropped in terms of breadth and intensity over time but there is still only around 10 per cent who see no need for action.
- Highest climate impacts of concern were: A more polluted planet (80 per cent), a more polluted Australia and destruction of the Great Barrier Reef (79 per cent each), more droughts affecting crop production and food supply (78 per cent), and animal and plant species becoming extinct (75 per cent). Water shortages in Australian cities continues to be a concern, with 71 per cent of respondents identifying it as an issue this year, down from more than 90 per cent in 2008 and 2010.
- Almost two-thirds (66 per cent) thought there are too many conflicting opinions for the public to be sure about the claims made around climate change.
- Australians don’t think business and the media are doing a good job at addressing climate change.
They get net disapproval negative ratings of 21 and 22 respectively, a rate far worse than the Federal Government’s at minus 6.
- Support for the carbon pricing laws of 28 per cent (52 per cent opposition) rises to 47 per cent (29 per cent opposition) when it is correctly explained that all the revenue raised goes to support households, business and clean, renewable energy.
- Increasing the proportion of energy from renewables and greater energy efficiency from industry were perceived as the most effective emissions reduction policies (with 43 per cent of respondents giving these a 9 or 10 ranking in a scale where 10 meant ‘most effective).
- Eighty one per cent placed solar energy within their top three preferred energy options. Wind was the second most preferred option with 59 per cent. Two-thirds placed coal in their least preferred three options, slightly more than nuclear at 64 per cent.
- Gender and age were significant indicators with males and those over 55 less concerned about climate change and less supportive of actions.
- Less than half of respondents (44 per cent) thought the Coalition would repeal the carbon laws.
- Twice as many respondents agreed that Labor has an effective plan to reduce emissions (28 per cent agreed) compared to the Coalition (14 per cent).
- More than half (52 per cent) think that Australia should be a leader in finding solutions to climate change with only 23 per cent disagreeing. This is little changed from April 2010 polling when 55 per cent of respondents agreed, down from 69 per cent in February 2009.
- A minority (37 per cent) agree that Australia shouldn’t act until major emitters like China and the United States do. Twenty eight per cent agreed with this proposition in February 2009.”
Any sane Government would defund this propaganda machine on day one. It’s not about “serving the people”.
UPDATE: It is not clear The Climate Institute receives government funding at all- (it’s not the Climate Change Institute which I was mistakenly thinking of when I wrote the sentence above). Though Australia Post (why?) is listed as a “partner”. The main partner is Westpac. Others include KPMG, Pacific Hydro, Mirvac, Ogilvy Earth, AGL, Jemena, GE, and “better place”. (source: The Climate Institute — Partners)
It’s a private think tank set up in 2005. It gets about $2m a year from the Poola Foundation.
Board of Directors
- Mr Mark Wootton, (Chair) Farmer and Director, Poola Foundation
- Dr. Hugh Saddler, Managing Director, Energy Strategies Pty Ltd
- Dr. Graeme Pearman, Senior Research Fellow, Monash University
- Professor Tony McMichael, Director, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population
- Mr Adam Kilgour, Managing Director, Diplomacy Pty Ltd
- Mr Andrew Demetriou, CEO, Australian Football League
- Ms Susan Jeanes, CEO, Renewable Energy Generators of Australia
- Ms Sam Meers, CEO, Managing Director and a trustee of the Nelson Meers Foundation
- Mr John Connor, CEO, The Climate Institute
- Ms Clare Martin, Professorial Fellow at Charles Darwin University’s Northern Institute