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Environment, Political

Majority of Australians support fossil fuel industry paying for the costs of climate change

The Australia Institute 2 mins read

Media release | Wednesday 13 September 2023

Climate of the Nation 2023 Benchmark Report launched by Senator David Pocock

A significant majority of Australians (at least 75%) are concerned about the impact of the climate crisis on food supply, agriculture and insurance premiums, and support policies that would force fossil fuel companies to pay for the damage they are causing, according to the Australia Institute’s 2023 Climate of the Nation report.

The benchmark Climate of the Nation report is Australia’s longest continuous survey of community attitudes to climate change. This year's report will be launched by ACT Independent Senator David Pocock at Parliament House today. 

This year’s report shows that, amid pressure from record inflation and interest rates, Australians recognise the climate crisis is exacerbating the cost of living crisis and want to shift the burden to polluters. 

Key findings from the 2023 Climate of the Nation report include:

  • Australians support the government introducing new policies that would make the fossil fuel industry pay for its contribution to climate change, including: 

    • a polluter-pays tax (74% support, 16% oppose)

    • a windfall profits tax on the oil and gas industry (66% support, 18% oppose), and;

    • a levy on fossil fuel exports to fund climate adaptation (59% support, 24% oppose).

  • 75% of Australians are concerned that climate change will result in more expensive insurance premiums, while 21% are not concerned.

  • 75% are concerned about climate-related disruptions to supply chains making it hard to buy necessities, while 21% are not concerned.

  • Australians blame the excessive profits of electricity companies and poor policy making, more than climate impacts, for rising electricity prices. 

  • Australians are concerned climate change will result in droughts and flooding affecting crop production and food supply (80%) and more bushfires (79%). Another 18% are not concerned.

“This report reinforces the very clear message Australians sent at the last election when they elected a record number of parliamentarians pushing for much greater ambition on climate change,” said ACT Independent Senator David Pocock.

“Communities right around the country are already feeling the devastating impacts from more extreme weather events and natural disasters, which are only getting worse. This is not the new normal, it is a glimpse of what’s to come.

“Our climate and earth systems are breaking down at an even faster rate than scientists had feared, meaning we need to accelerate action, yet the major parties continue to drag their feet.

“More ambition on climate action will also bring down the cost-of-living for Australians.”

“Australians want those who are profiting from the climate crisis to pay for the damage they are causing,” said Polly Hemming, Climate & Energy Program Director at the Australia Institute. 

"We are seeing widespread support for a polluter-pays tax on business and two thirds of Australians now support a windfall profit tax on the oil and gas industry.

“While Australians are contending with record price and interest rate increases, fossil fuel companies are enjoying record profits – including $140 billion on LNG and coal exports in 2023 alone. And these are some of the same companies paying little or no company tax.

“Climate of the Nation 2023 comes at a time when Australians are facing unprecedented challenges on multiple fronts, most notably from the cost-of-living crisis. Despite these pressures, a strong majority of Australians want more ambitious climate action.

“Australians know the climate crisis will make food and insurance more expensive – they’re already feeling these impacts."

The Australia Institute is a member of the Australian Polling Council, and the 2023 Climate of the Nation is Australian Polling Council compliant.

Contact details:

Georgie Moore
0477 779 928


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