Australians overwhelmingly want the country’s energy system to be powered by renewables because they see it as the “economically smart” thing for the country’s future, The Climate Institute’s Climate of the Nation 21017 report has found.

“Ninety-six percent of Australians want our nation’s primary energy to come from renewables, with 58% wanting it supported by storage technologies and 38% by fossil fuels,” said The Climate Institute acting CEO Olivia Kember. “People see through the divisive politics. They want bipartisan action and clean solutions.

“Australians recognise – to the tune of three quarters of the population – that the shift to clean energy presents a golden opportunity for economic development, investment and jobs,” Kember said. “Almost two thirds think Australia can and should be a world leader in this area, but they don’t see our leaders delivering, and so they are getting more and more fed up with argument instead of action on this issue.”

Drawing from research based on a national attitudinal survey of 2,660 people, conducted by Galaxy, and eight focus groups conducted by Brand Central, taking in participants from Adelaide, greater western Sydney, Brisbane and greater Townsville, Climate of the Nation 2017 is the latest edition of the country’s most comprehensive annual research into the attitudes of Australians to climate change and energy.

Other key findings from the research include:

  • 71% of Australians agree that climate change is occurring, and are concerned about its negative impacts, particularly on the Great Barrier Reef and production of our food supply (both 74%).
  • Almost 70% of people are concerned that further extreme weather caused by climate change will cause cost of living increases and adverse economic impacts for Australia.
  • 55% blame privatisation for today’s high electricity prices, 44% blame federal policy uncertainty or poor policymaking and 34% blame excessive gas exports for driving up the price of domestic gas – other reasons such as state restrictions on gas supply or the unreliability of renewable energy were selected by less than a quarter of participants.
  • Not only do most Australians want our country to be an international leader in climate change solutions, but 87% would not want Australia to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, as the United States has done, and 61% want us to work harder with other countries to achieve the agreement’s goals.
  • Few Australians think the federal or state governments are doing a good job on climate and energy – 41% (up from 33% last year) think the federal government is doing a poor or terrible job.

Though this is the final Climate of the Nation report from The Climate Institute, which closes its doors on June 30, the research will be continued by The Australia Institute.

Climate of the Nation 2017 can be downloaded from The Climate Institute’s website.