Australians want country to increase ambition on cutting emissions, national polling shows

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The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Central Business District (CBD) can be behind properties in the Sydney suburb of Rozelle, Australia, September 5, 2016.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Central Business District (CBD) can be behind properties in the Sydney suburb of Rozelle, Australia, September 5, 2016. Reuters/David Gray/File Photo

A majority or fifty-eight percent of respondents believe Australia must increase its ambition on cutting emissions. Only 25 percent of Australians believe the country is on track to meet its international commitment, a national polling released by the Australia Institute’s Climate and Energy program shows.

Forty-four percent of those who participated in the poll said that the country is on track to meet its 2030 emissions target. Only 25 percent said it is on track, with 31 percent saying they do not know.

The national polling also shows that sixty percent of respondents support Australia phasing out coal power by 2030. Only 22 percent disagreed.

Deputy Director of The Australia Institute Ebony Bennett reacted to the results of the polling, saying that it shows that Aussies think emissions targets are too low and that they do not believe that low targets will be met. Bennett added that the strong majority support for phasing out coal power shows how far the community is ahead of the government on climate change.

“The government’s weak targets and coal addiction risks making Australia a climate pariah, as well as missing out on the jobs and investment that the global renewable boom,” Bennett said. She added that this runs directly against what the public wants.

When asked regarding the proposal to raise the country’s emission reduction target from 26-28 percent up to 45 percent by 2030, more than half or fifty-six percent thought the 45 percent emission reduction proposal was “about right” or “too low.” Fewer than a quarter or 22 percent of respondents believed that the proposal was “too high.”

Executive Director of The Australia Institute Ben Oquist said a 26 percent emissions reduction target for the electricity sector will ensure extra instability and delay the transformation of the electricity sector. He reportedly said the emissions reduction target is too low and does not reflect the country contributing its fair share towards the Paris commitment to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees. The National Energy Emissions Audit has revealed that energy emissions are now at record highs.

“Australians do not accept a head-in-the-sand approach to climate change. This polling shows that voters want Australia to play a leadership role on emissions and want their homes powered by clean, cheap renewable energy,” Oquist said.

The national poll conducted by The Australia Institute involved 1,557 Australians. It conducted a national survey through Research Now with nationally representative samples.

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