Massive support for net zero emissions and climate action in Victoria
Cameron Jewell | 23 February 2017
Eight out of 10 Victorians support their government’s renewable energy and net zero emissions targets, new polling commissioned by state government agency Sustainability Victoria has found.
The survey of 3300 Victorians, which was undertaken by Wallis Research, also found that 93 per cent of people want the government to act on climate change, with 48 per cent saying the state should be leading on climate action.
Four out of five of those surveyed said they supported a net zero emissions target, the same number that agreed that increases in extreme weather events were being driven by climate change.
The findings reinforce long term finding by other pollsters such as Roy Morgan Research which has consistently found around 90 per cent of Australians want carbon emissions to be reduced (but are not in agreement on how to pay for this).
Essential Media also this week reported that 71 per cent of people polled said the government was not doing enough to ensure “affordable, reliable and clean energy” for households and businesses. And only 23 per cent of Coalition voters thought it was doing enough.
See an article in The Conversation that says the government is losing the debate on energy
The Victorian survey found just seven per cent of those canvassed said climate change wasn’t real, or was caused by natural variation.
“Victorians accept the science and know that climate change is not only real, but that government, industry and the wider community must work together to fight it,” Victorian energy, environment and climate change minister Lily D’Ambrosio said.
The poll was released to correspond with the Victorian Legislative Council’s vote on a climate change bill that successfully passed early on Thursday with help from the Greens, the Sex Party and Jobs for the West.
The bill creates a new Climate Change Act that establishes a net zero emissions target of 2050 and requires five-yearly interim emissions targets from 2020.
Environment Victoria chief executive Mark Wakeham welcomed the findings, and said it confirmed that Victorians understood climate change was serious and urgent.
“We can already see climate change unfolding with damaging impacts across the state,” he said.
“Victorians expect their leaders to have a plan to tackle this massive threat to our way of life.”
He said the poll raised serious questions about the Coalition opposition, which is seeking to remove the renewable energy target – set at 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025 – and opposed the bill for a net zero emissions target.
“Not only is [opposition leader] Matthew Guy’s position on these pieces of legislation irresponsible and reckless, it’s also politically unpopular and out of step with Victorian attitudes,” Mr Wakeham said.
“Only a tiny minority of Victorians oppose reducing pollution in our economy – unfortunately many of them seem to reside in the Liberal party room.”