A new poll has revealed the scale of the disconnect between the Turnbull government and the Australian public on the subject of renewable energy, revealing that a majority of people – including Coalition voters – think not enough is being done to wean the nation from fossil fuels, switch to renewables, and combat climate change.
The survey, conducted by The Australia Institute, found that 67 per cent of respondents believed Australia was moving “too slowly” into renewable energy, with 35 per cent saying it was “much too slowly.” Only 9 per cent said Australia was moving too fast.
On the subject of setting a renewable energy target beyond 2020, which the federal government is yet to do, 73 per cent of those surveyed supported setting a new RET for 2030.
Interestingly, support for a more ambitious 2030 RET was highest in Queensland (80%), and was also high among conservative constituents, with 69 per cent of Coalition voters and 66 per cent of One Nation voters supporting a higher 2030 target.
But perhaps the most striking findings of the poll came in response to topics on which the Coalition has actively agitated, including state renewable energy targets and the alleged connection between increased renewable energy generation and higher power prices.
A total of 77 per cent of Australians supported the use of state renewable energy targets to provide extra renewables in their state, including 35 per cent who strongly supported this.
In fact, despite consistent strong criticism of state RETs by the Turnbull government – and in particular, of South Australia’s ambitious approach to renewables – the poll found more than 70 per cent of support for state RETs across all gender, state and voting categories, including 72 per cent of Coalition voters.
And on the subject of electricity prices, which the Coalition has repeatedly claimed are being pushed up by ambitious renewable energy policies, voters also appear to disagree.
The TAI survey found that 45 per cent of respondents think getting rid of the Renewable Energy Target would lead to higher power prices, while only 19 per cent said they would decrease.
Another 55 per cent, meanwhile, rated Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as “poor” on renewable energy and climate change, including 39 per cent of Coalition voters, 59 per cent of One Nation voters and 58 per cent of Other/ Independent.