The Ipsos Social Research Institute Climate Change Report

Since 2007, Ipsos SRI has conducted an annual report that captures the attitudes and opinions of Australians in relation to climate change. The fieldwork for the most recent report in the series was conducted in late November 2011, just a few weeks after the Australian Parliament passed laws to put a price on carbon pollution via the Clean Energy Future legislation, commonly referred to as the carbon tax. This point in time marks a period of limbo for Australians; a price on carbon is on its way, but will not come into effect until July 2012. This has left people questioning what impact of a price on carbon pollution will have on their households, communities, and more broadly, the Australian economy.

Our research found that there is clear scepticism regarding the potential of the carbon tax to make a positive difference to the environment, as well as pessimism regarding the legislation’s impact on households and the national economy. Almost half of survey participants (47%) disagreed that the carbon tax is a positive step in addressing Australia’s environmental impact and a further quarter (26%) neither agreed nor disagreed. Just over half (53%) agreed with the statement my household will be worse off as a result of the carbon tax (16% disagreed). At a national level, over half (53%) agreed with the statement the carbon tax will have a negative impact on the Australian economy, whereas a fifth (20%) disagreed (27% neither agreed nor disagreed).

The vast majority of Australians believe climate change is a ‘real’ phenomenon, 92% of survey participants said that they believe that climate change is occurring, while 74% believe that human activity is contributing to climate change. Although almost half of Australians (49%) agreed that climate change poses a serious threat to our way of life in the next 25 years, our results showed a continuing decline in concern about the threat caused by climate change, and indeed environmental issues in general.

The full report can be found on the Ipsos SRI website, here.

Alternatively, please see a video summary of the findings here.

Jennifer Brook
Research Manager