The annual national survey by the Lowy Institute of 2006 Australians shows the vast majority support Federal Government subsidies for renewable energy technology and a more ambitious emissions target for 2030. Less than a third support subsidising existing coal power stations.
Key findings include:
- 90% of Australians support federal government subsidies for renewable energy technology, 77% support a more ambitious emissions target for 2030, and 75% back Australia hosting a United Nations Climate Conference.
- 60% say ‘global warming is a serious and pressing problem’ about which ‘we should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs’.
- More than half support reducing coal exports to other countries (65%), introducing an emissions trading scheme or carbon tax (64%) and banning new coal mines (63%).
- Only a third (33%) support subsiding new coal-fired power plants.
Joseph O’Brien, MD of CuString, developers of the 1000-kilometre high voltage CopperString electricity network to connect critical minerals and renewable energy projects in North West Queensland with the national grid, said the Australian Government has recognised the need for 10,000 kilometres of transmission line to deliver stable, affordable and sustainable electricity by connecting solar and wind to the grid, and the Lowy Institute’s annual poll reinforces the expectation, with an overwhelming majority of Australians supporting renewables.
“Let’s get on and build it, bring it online and supercharge the network. Federal Energy Minister Chris Bowen has committed to work with us and the Queensland Government to progress CopperString to unlock North West Queensland’s potential for critical minerals and large-scale renewable energy projects, and drive the Prime Minister’s goal for our nation to be a clean energy superpower.”
While 59 per cent support increasing the use of gas and 52 per cent removing the ban on nuclear power, experts warn that nuclear power plants are prohibitively expensive, would take decades to build, and are not a viable energy solution, while gas expansion would accelerate dangerous climate change.
Bruce Robertson, gas analyst, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said gas prices have gone up by about 500 per cent in the past year.
“Consumers will feel the pain in rising gas prices over the next six months.
“Now’s the time for people to get off the gas as a fuel source in their homes.”
Climate Council, Head of Research Dr Simon Bradshaw said it’s no surprise Australians want to supercharge renewables, stop using fossil fuels and cut pollution.
“Two-thirds of Australians who took this survey agree coal exports should be reduced and importantly, that there should be no more coal mines. Fossil fuels like coal and gas are a dead end: expensive, outdated and worsening the climate problem.
“Building large-scale wind and solar projects is the cheapest way of producing electricity, even when paired with storage. It is also low risk, renewable and non-polluting. It’s time to leave fossil fuels in the polluting past where they belong and get on with the task of charging ahead into our renewable future.”