Nuclear divisions across Australia: climate change report

Rebecca Gredley
(Australian Associated Press)

 

AUSTRALIA’S ATTITUDE TO CLIMATE CHANGE

Most are concerned about more droughts and flooding caused by climate change (81 per cent), slightly up from last year.

  • The number of Australians who think climate change is already happening matches the record-high from 2016 (77 per cent) after dipping.
  • Close to two-thirds think Australia should have a national target of net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • A similar number think humans are responsible for climate change.
  • Most Australians think climate change is causing more extreme weather events and hurting food supply.
  • Most blame electricity companies and their profit margins for rising power bills.
  • Solar power is Australia’s favourite energy source for the fourth year running.
  • Young adults are more concerned about climate change and more supportive of reducing emissions than older generations.
  • About two-thirds want the federal government to stop building new coal mines.

Source: Climate of the Nation report 2019 (1960 Australians surveyed)

 

Australians unconcerned by climate change are most supportive of nuclear energy, a new report suggests.

Despite Australia’s moratorium on nuclear power, the latest Climate of the Nation report shows 22 per cent of the country lists it in their top three preferred energy sources.

Close to 2000 Australians took part in the survey, with government population data used to ensure the sample reflected the spread of people across the nation.

Respondents were asked to rank a list of energy sources from most to least preferred, with solar topping the chart for the fourth year in a row.

It’s the most favoured power source regardless of age, gender, state and political persuasion.

Wind is second on the list, followed by hydro, power storage and nuclear.

About 30 per cent of Australians “not at all concerned” by climate change favoured nuclear power, compared to five per cent of those who were “very concerned” by it.

A parliamentary committee is looking at whether nuclear is a feasible, suitable and palatable solution for Australia’s future energy needs.

The committee has been told by Ziggy Switkowski – who led a Howard government review into the power source – that there was a real risk of “catastrophic failure” if Australia adopted nuclear energy.

Labor flatly opposes nuclear and has ramped up its campaign against it by asking where the government would consider building a reactor.

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull hasn’t helped some coalition MPs behind the power source, calling nuclear power a “loopy” fad.

The Climate of the Nation report has tracked Australia’s attitude to climate change for more than a decade.

This year’s survey also shows Australians overestimate the size of the coal mining industry, perceiving it as being 23 times larger than it is.

Half of those surveyed support a moratorium for new coal mines and expanding existing ones, while about 26 per cent oppose the idea.

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