More than 80 per cent of Australians name solar power among their top three most preferred energy sources, new research from The Climate Institute has found.
In its latest Climate of the Nation report, The Climate Institute found that 84 per cent of Australians preferred solar to be in their ideal energy mix of three sources, followed by wind, at 69 per cent.
Another 65 per cent of respondents thought that cutting investment in wind farms and household solar – the new government issued mandate for the Clean Energy Finance Corp – was the opposite of what was needed; and only 11 per cent disagreed.
“Despite a year which has seen renewable energy targets wound back, and attacks on wind power, support for both solar and wind in Australians’ preferred energy mix has grown,” said TCI chief John Connor.
Gas and nuclear, meanwhile, were found to be favoured by only 21 and 13 per cent of survey respondents, respectively, with nuclear and coal now tied as the least preferred energy source.
Some 70 per cent of the electorate also agreed that it was inevitable that Australia’s current coal-fired generation would need to be replaced, with 72 per cent saying governments needed a plan to ensure their orderly closure and their replacement with clean energy – 7 per cent disagreed with this.“The government and the opposition have an opportunity to join mainstream Australian attitudes with climate commitments and policies which can limit carbon pollution, encourage renewable energy and clean up our energy system,” concluded Connor.
As well as strengthening support for renewables, the report, based on a survey conducted by Galaxy Research in July, also shows an increasing awareness about the cause and impacts of climate change and carbon pollution regulation, and a greater call for government action.
According to TCI, the results highlight a growing disconnect between the Abbott government – which is due to set its emissions reduction target on Tuesday this week – and public sentiment on climate action, renewables and pollution regulation.
“There is a clear message in this report: ‘the Abbott government should take climate change more seriously’,” said the TCI report.
The survey also found that just over half of Australians thought Australia’s post-2020 pollution reduction targets should be based on climate science and not what other nations do.
“The government and the opposition have an opportunity to join mainstream Australian attitudes with climate commitments and policies which can limit carbon pollution, encourage renewable energy and clean up our energy system,” said Connor.