Recent reports of hot weather around much of the world in July plus a warm July across much of Australia has caused an uptick in belief in imminent climate change, the level of expected future concern about climate change, and the level of belief that the climate is changing amongst Australian adults. This is described in our report.
Unfortunately, however, the peak of belief in imminent climate change was back in 2006 and there is no upwards trend in belief. We attribute that to the ending of an upwards trend in Australia’s mean temperature in the mid 2000’s, which had been evident since the early 1990’s. There is a very similar set of belief patterns in the United States.
It may be that an upwards trend in Australian temperatures is emerging, in which case the level of belief and demand for action amongst the general public will also increase.
At present, however, there is not a strong demand for action amongst a majority of Australian adults.
Issues other than climate change dominate the expected future concerns of Australians. These include the cost of living, housing affordability, and having enough money to live on amongst others.
We cannot rely on future governments continuing to adhere to current targets for greenhouse gas emissions and, preferably, setting and achieving more ambitious targets without stronger support from the general public.
To maximise support for action, we need to develop communications which will increase the levels of belief and concern about climate change and which effectively sell the co-benefits of more urgent action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, especially so far as the cost of living are concerned.
Our tracking research started in 2005 and has been extended in recent years
and is now being updated quarterly. Analysis of our data identifies the factors which have caused variations in the level of belief over time.
The adult population of Australia has been segmented on the basis of their level of belief in imminent climate change, their level of expected concern about climate change in the future, and whether they feel Australia is on the right track in dealing with climate change.
These segments enable more effective, targeted, communications about climate change.