Government 'failing' on climate change: poll

As the federal election approaches, new polling shows how public attitude to climate change are shifting.

Loy Yang power station in Victoria and Scott Morrison.

Loy Yang power station in Victoria and Scott Morrison. Source: AAP

Only 13 per cent of Australians believe the Morrison government is doing a good job in addressing climate change, according to a new poll.

framed public perceptions of climate change in the leadup to the federal election, due in May.

It found almost half of Australians now feel that "honouring the Paris Climate Agreement should be a key priority" for this country.

And many Australians want to go even further. Forty per cent said they would like to see an emissions reduction target set that goes beyond reducing emissions by 26 per cent - 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 as set out in the Paris agreement.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Source: AAP

In a statement, Ipsos said the poll "uncovered a growing momentum for action on climate change and acceptance of the role of humans in causing it".

"We also [found] that the majority of Australians believe that they will not be negatively impacted by a move towards renewables and that support for climate action by the government is on the rise."

The survey asked a "representative sample" of 1000 people and was conducted in December 2018.

Labor's climate policy

The findings come as Labor .

If Labor wins May's federal election, Australia's 250 biggest polluting businesses would have to cut or offset emissions but could make money by selling carbon credits if they overachieve.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten is promising exemptions from the new scheme for major industries like steel and agriculture.

Australia has committed to reducing emissions to 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030, a milestone the federal government insists it's on target for.
Australia has committed to reducing emissions to 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030, a milestone the federal government insists it's on target for. Source: AAP

Labor's climate policy is an extension of the coalition's "safeguard mechanism" that limits pollution by big industries.

"There will be no carbon tax, carbon pricing mechanism, or government revenue," Mr Shorten said.

"[Business] don't want to start from scratch with another mechanism. Industry feedback has been unanimous, businesses want Labor to expand the safeguard mechanism, and we've listened."

Some big polluters had their baseline pollution limits set above their worst polluting days, meaning the limit effectively allowed them to increase emissions.

Labor's climate change spokesman Mark Butler said the scheme doesn't impose penalties but does require businesses to offset emissions.

The party would significantly expand the range of ways to do that.

Mr Morrison slammed the plan on Monday.

"Bill Shorten does not have a plan, he just has another tax. That's all this is," he said.

Banning Kyoto credits

Labor also confirmed it will not use the carbon credits from the earlier Kyoto climate agreement to meet Australia's targets under the Paris agreement.

Mr Shorten called the coalition's plan to use the Kyoto credits "fake action on climate change", saying Ukraine was the only other country to do the same.

The agricultural sector will not be covered by the expanded safeguard mechanism, and Labor is planning with work with the sector to help meet its commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Electricity generators also won't be covered by the mechanism, instead falling under Labor's energy policy.

A $300 million fund will help trade-exposed industries like steel, aluminium and cement manufacturing to remain internationally competitive.

Labor will also set a national electric vehicle target of 50 per cent of new car sales by 2030, as Australia lags behind other developed nations in adopting the new models.

Additional reporting: AAP

3 min read
Published 1 April 2019 at 11:16am