By MELISSA WELLHAM
Climate change. The ‘climate change lie’. The carbon tax. The emissions trading scheme. The melting icecaps. The polar bears. The fact that soon we won’t have pasta.
Climate change is (still) a hot topic. Literally. But unfortunately, it’s also a highly politicised one.
Amidst all this noise, it can be difficult to know what the people in Australia who aren’t politicians think. What they are really worried about, and what they think we should be doing to combat it.
The Climate Institute has released a new study, Climate of the Nation 2013, which reveals that two-thirds of people think that climate change is actually happening – and of that group, almost everyone thinks that it is affecting us right now.
Respondents to the survey were particularly concerned by the impact of climate change on food prices, and insurance premiums being affected by extreme weather.
The survey from the Climate Institute also broke down answers from respondents according to gender, which makes for some interesting comparisons.
Although a similar number of men and women agree that climate change is occurring (65 per cent of men, and 66 per cent of women), men are also more likely to believe that climate change is not occurring (18 per cent), whereas women are more likely to say that they’re not sure (17 per cent).
In regards to concerns about the impact of climate change, 63 per cent of women report being concerned about the environmental impacts, such as extreme weather – whereas only 55 per cent of men are concerned. Maybe men are more likely to think they can weather the storm?
As far as the cost of living is concerned, 69 per cent of women are worried that their daily expenses will rise as a result of climate change – and 62 per cent of men are worried, too.
But, although men are more likely to believe that the seriousness of climate change is being exaggerated, men are also feel more positively about carbon pricing than women. A third of men interviewed in the survey report supporting carbon pricing.
Further, 35 per cent of men are worried that “if we get rid of carbon pricing, we lose the opportunity to get ahead of other countries in the development of smarter and cleaner technologies”.
Overall, however, participants in the survey were not inclined to believe that Labor had an effective plan to tackle climate change. 30 per cent of men believed they had an effective plan, and 23 per cent of women thought the same – but the rest of individuals who answered the survey were varying shades of unsure and ‘hell no’.
Of course, this survey was conducted in June this year – before Kevin Rudd announced that the Labor party would be ‘scrapping’ the Carbon Tax, and returning to a plan for an Emissions Trading Scheme. This switch from Labor has, unsurprisingly, left a lot of people wondering what is actually going on.