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In Australia, like many other countries, attitudes to climate change and political voting intentions are strongly linked.

Annual surveys of Australian attitudes to climate change

Most Australians think the climate is changing, and are doing many different things to respond to it, for a variety of reasons.

  • 21 December 2011 | Updated 17 April 2014

Effective action on adapting to climate change needs to be based on current and reliable information about what Australians think about climate change.

A CSIRO research project is undertaking a systematic research project  to better address public perceptions and understandings of climate change.

This research complements and informs the climate and adaptation research undertaken across many science and social science disciplines within CSIRO.

Four online surveys were undertaken at approximately yearly intervals from 2010 until 2013. They all use the same method and a core component of questions to benchmark attitudes and track changes.

Some additional or alternative questions are also included every year  to reflect the changing public conversation.

The first survey in 2010 was just prior to the Federal election. It shows that most Australians consider climate change is happening and the majority consider that human activities play a role.

An interesting result from this survey is the relationship between attitudes to climate change and political voting intentions.

In Australia, like many other countries, attitudes to climate change and political voting intentions are strongly linked.

The second survey in 2011 was just prior to legislation being put to parliament to introduce a price on carbon. It showed that acceptance of climate change changed little over the year.

The third survey in 2012, similar to the two previous surveys, found that most people agree that climate change is happening, but they remain divided about the role played by human activity. There was strong evidence that people overestimate the prevalence of their own views on the nature of climate change.

The fourth survey in 2013 investigated the community’s own projections of how their local climate might change in the future, and how they planned to respond. Previous experience with extreme climate and weather events was positively linked to anticipated coping. It was also revealed that most people tend to overestimate the amount of actions they’re taking to respond to climate change relative to other Australians.

Opinions about the causes of climate change remain relatively unchanged from 2010.

This research complements and informs the climate and adaptation research undertaken across many science and social science disciplines within CSIRO.

However some additional or alternative questions are also included to reflect the changing public conversation.

The first survey in 2010 was just prior to the Federal election. It shows that most Australians consider climate change is happening and the majority consider that human activities play a role.

An interesting result from this survey is the relationship between attitudes to climate change and political voting intentions.

In Australia, like many other countries, attitudes to climate change and political voting intentions are strongly linked.

The second survey in 2011 was just prior to legislation being put to parliament to introduce a price on carbon. It showed that acceptance of climate change changed little over the year.

The third survey in 2012, similar to the two previous surveys, found that most people agree that climate change is happening, but they remain divided about the role played by human activity.

Opinions about the causes of climate change remain relatively unchanged from 2010. There was strong evidence that people overestimate the prevalence of their own views on the nature of climate change.

Find out more about Climate Change.

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