Solar power trumps other renewables in Australian minds

19th Jul 2013

The people have spoken. And it appears that solar power has been ranked as the most preferred option for tackling climate change issues.

Respondents to a Climate Institute survey tipped the renewable energy source as their favourite by a substantial margin – with 87 per cent listing it within their top three energy options.

Wind, which clinched second place, had to settle for being in 67 per cent of people's top three.

The data was part of a wider examination of Australians' views on climate change and carbon pricing policy, with the Climate Institute pointing to a noticeable shift in public opinion on the latter in particular.

John Connors, chief executive officer of the organisation, said environmental issues are important to large portions of the population.

"In mid-2013, two-thirds of Australians think that climate change is occurring and almost all of them believe that it is impacting us now," he stated.

"Two-thirds are concerned about the cost of living impacts on food prices and insurance premiums of further extreme weather events as a result of climate change."

Not only this, it seems the public is fed up of lies regarding the carbon tax – more so than the tax itself. Many said they are happy to give it a try to see if it works.

And while environmental issues may not be front and centre of the upcoming election, Mr Connor believes it is more important to voters than parties may believe.

"Politicians should not ignore the fact that the public sees economic opportunities in taking action and that there is rebounding support for Australian leadership on finding solutions to climate change," he added.

The stats would seem to back this up, with the study revealing 58 per cent of people feel Australia should be leading the way globally when it comes to solving climate change problems.

This figure is six per cent above 2012 levels and the highest it has been in five years.

Mr Connor conceded that support for carbon tax is not overwhelming, but claimed Australians were more likely to back the policy once they learned more about it.

In fact, support was highest when the general public discovered that all revenues from the scheme were pumped back into providing businesses and households with renewable investment for energy efficiency offerings.

"Attitudes about climate change are emerging from the shadows of the perceived 'carbon tax lie' and there is a sentiment of 'give carbon pricing a go'," he said.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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