The most devastating thing about this survey is not what it says about energy policy but what it says about our democracy.
70% of Australians think energy policy should be about reliable cheap supply, not about stopping storms, and 70% don’t want to even spend $1 a week saving the world from climate change. Despite this, neither major party stands for that 70%.
Imagine what our election campaign would look like if both parties were trying to win over voters?
The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) asked 1,007 Australians “How much would you personally be willing to pay each year for Australia to reduce its emissions to zero by 2050?” And 42% said “Nothing at all”. Nine out of ten Australians don’t want to spend much at all. Yet somehow both major political parties agree to spend billions every year on a transition we don’t have to have.
We don’t have to have wind or solar power, big batteries, big interconnectors, big Snowy 2.0 and we don’t have to buy international carbon credits.
Bear in mind Australians are not paying $50 or $100 a year on climate bills, they’re paying $1,300 a year.*
So state and federal governments are spending wildly more than the voters want. Who do they serve?
It’s like all major parties are working to keep 3% of the population happy.
And 70% of Australians think energy policy should primarily be about getting cheap and affordable energy, not about changing the weather.
The scary thing is that a bit over 1 in 4 voters (28%) do think that energy policy should try to cool the world.
…What is significant about this finding is how far attitudes toward cutting emissions have shifted over the past year. A similar survey undertaken by the Lowy Institute in April 2021, before Scott Morrison committed Australia to Net Zero, found 55 per cent of Australians believed reducing carbon emissions should be a priority of the federal government, while 44 per cent believed reducing household bills (affordability) and reducing the risk of blackouts (reliability) should be a priority (and 1 per cent weren’t sure).
More Australians would be concerned about national security if they knew this:
Australia’s entire strategic oil reserve is only enough for 1.5 days of domestic consumption, and we lack the capacity to bulk store fuel resources locally. At the turn of the century, Australia had eight operational oil refineries, enough to almost meet our domestic consumption of fuel, however only two remain today.
As it is, Australians want national defence more than “Net Zero”:
The same survey undertaken by the IPA found that 61 per cent of Australians agree the federal government should be more focused on national defence rather than meeting Australia’s Net Zero emissions by 2050 target, while only 39 per cent disagree.
Thanks To Rafe Champion
*Moran, Alan (2020) Australians pay $1300 in hidden climate bills each year.