Complexities of environmental behaviour and climate action

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After the passing of Australia’s carbon price legislative package in November 2011, marketing and social research firm, IPSOS conducted a survey about consumer attitudes to the carbon price and correlated these to their beliefs around climate change and their willingness to take personal action. The nine page summary report highlights the complexity in behaviour change and indicated there somewhat of a contradiction between behaviour and the degree of concern about predicted impacts of climate change. *Report highlights are below.

Another IPOSOS report called Acceptable Behaviour, notes that while on one hand people agree governments should intervene in specific areas, there was still resistance to the carbon price, particularly among those who were not convinced that climate change is real.

However overall, most people think that the Federal Government is responsible for taking action to address climate change despite the apparent resistance to the carbon price.

*Highlights from the IPSOS 2012 climate change and behaviour report:

  • Over half (56%) agreed that Australia is already being affected by climate change.
    Just under a third (32%) of Australians reported that climate change is mainly or entirely caused by human activity. Almost one-in-five (18%) thought that climate change was mainly or entirely caused by natural processes.
  • Almost half of respondents (49%) agreed that climate change poses a serious threat to our way of life in the next 25 years, and agreement increases to 61% when considering the threat posed over the next 100 years.
  • Despite this, a third (35%) said that they would take action on climate change or global warming if they were in charge of decision-making for Australia.
    Although most Australians feel a sense of responsibility to do something about climate change (58% agreed it is my responsibility to help do something about climate change) they certainly don’t think that individuals and their families should be mainly responsible for action (11% nominated individuals and their families as being mainly responsible).
  • Australians think that the Federal Government should play the most important role in taking responsibility for addressing climate change.

NB: The findings here are based on climate change tracking research undertaken in late 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 and is supported by results of other Ipsos research conducted in relation to sustainable consumption and climate change.

2012 IPSOS report on climate change attitudes and behaviours

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