Climate of the Nation: Climate Change Concern Hits 82%


Climate of the Nation 2020 Benchmark Report to be launched by The Hon. Matt Kean MP, NSW Minister for Energy & Environment

In the wake of the devastating Black Summer bushfires, an overwhelming majority of Australians (82%) say they are concerned about climate change resulting in more bushfires, according to a new benchmark report released today by the Australia Institute’s Climate & Energy Program.

The annual Climate of the Nation benchmark report has tracked Australian attitudes on climate change for over a decade, since 2007.

The 2020 Climate of the Nation report, to be launched by The Hon. Matt Kean MP, the NSW Minister for Energy and Environment, finds that:

  • After the devastating Black Summer bushfires, eight in ten Australians (82%) are concerned that climate change will result in more bushfires, up from 76% in 2019
  • Vast majority of Australians (83%) want coal-fired power stations to be phased out 
  • Only 12% of Australians prefer investment in gas to power Australia’s economic recovery, while the majority of Australians (59%) prefer investment in renewables as a pathway for economic recovery
  • Australians overestimate gas industry employment by a factor of 40x, believing, on average, that 8.2% of the workforce is in fossil gas mining when the reality is it represents just 0.2% of the Australian workforce
  • Seven in ten Australians (71%) want Australia to be a global leader in finding solutions to climate change, a jump of 9 percentage points from 2019
  • More than two in three Australians (68%) believe Australia should have a national target for net-zero emissions by 2050, including majority support across Coalition voters (59%), Labor voters (81%), Greens voters (90%), Other voters (65%).

“Our research shows that far from dampening the call for climate action, the COVID-19 crisis has strengthen Australians’ resolve for all levels of government to take action on climate change,” said Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Director at the Australia Institute.

“There is one clear message most Australians want more renewables and less fossil fuels. That means phase out coal fired power stations, bypass a gas-fired transition and plug into renewables to power their future.

“The catastrophic Black Summer bushfires saw Australians experience firsthand the tragic consequences of the worst impacts of climate inaction and that direct experience has only served to intensify concern for climate change and the call for decisive action to decarbonise Australia,” Mr Merzian said.

The Australia Institute’s 2020 Climate of the Nation report, to be launched by The Hon. Matt Kean MP, is available to download here.

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