This is the one thing Australians can’t agree on 84



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It’s divided the entire world for years, but a huge new study has revealed just how truly divided Australians are on the issue.

Despite scientists, researchers, academics, politicians and activists constantly stressing what is happening and that it is a real problem, almost 50 per cent of Australians are still struggling to believe climate change is caused by humans and that we need to change the way we are living to have a positive effect on global warming.

And it doesn’t just come down to what you’ve been told and believe, you may be swayed by your political party: only one in four Liberal voters accepts climate change is mostly caused by humans, and more than half of Liberal voters believing changes to global temperatures are natural, according to a CSIRO survey.

The huge new report, which analysed the findings of five surveys of Australian attitudes over the last five years showed the great debate that exists in society.

While 80 per cent of respondents accepted the climate was changing, 38.6 per cent of people think this warming is natural, 7.9 per cent believe it’s not occurring at all, and the rest just do not know what is causing it.

Fairfax reports that of 3789 respondents since the September 2013 election, 52 per cent of Liberal voters thought climate change was happening but it was natural, compared with 42 per cent of Nationals voters, 31 per cent of Labor and 17 per cent of Greens voters.

It really goes to show how challenging it will be for the Turnbull government to convince the voting public that climate change is a priority, and that steps taken and money spent will be worth it.

In comparison to the layman, all the world’s major science academies and around 97 per cent of published scientists accept climate change is caused by humans.

So with a PM who wants to make a change in this area, could Liberal voters change their opinions because of him? Andy Pitman, Director of ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of NSW, says yes, “To a substantial degree, when asked, a significant fraction of the public say what they think their preferred party says”.

The CSIRO also shows that respondents were confused about the subject in general, with conflicting answers and strange responses – some believed global warming wasn’t happening, yet blamed it on human activity, and those who didn’t feel climate change was real said they relied on their friends and family for this information.


So we want to know today: Do you believe climate change is happening? If so, why? And who caused it?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Anyone that still doesn’t believe climate change is affected by human activity does not want to believe it, because the facts are there to see if you look at them with your eyes open.

  2. Sadly if people don’t agree and the science is right, their grandchildren will suffer for it and will yours and mine

  3. Climate to a point but my belief is there always has been climate change long b4 man walked this earth. When you think of the ice age for one

    5 REPLY
    • Just my opinion/belief. You have yours and i respect that so at least do me the courtesy of respecting mine.

    • This is true Judy, but this time scientific facts indicate that in this instance it is happening at a very fast rate compared to past history.

    • Judy you are right, there has always been climate change. What we have now though is the climate changing with a rapidity that has never occurred before. In previous climatic change animals moved onwards to warmer or colder regions as they preferred, plants seeds spread by wind and animals found new areas once not suitable where they could thrive. It is all happening too fast, for animals and plants, humans have expanded across the planet occupying so much territory there is no new areas for them. We humans are having such a devastating impact on the planet not just in regard climate change, plastic in the ocean killing birds in colonies thousands of kilometres from human habitation just one other example.

    • Ian Porteous So what will be in tangible impact of anything you do? Oh look, the sky is falling in.

  4. To believe it exists and that iur actions are contributing to a greater rate of change means we will have to change thd way we behave. Those that don’t understand this aren’t prepared to accept the costs. This has been drummed into the ignorant through scare tactics like the great big toxic tax of Tony Abbott. Turnball understands but is emasculated by the RWNJ faction. Australia could go a long way to solving its employment problems if it was to embrace renewable energy technolgies to teduce our consumption of fossil fuels. But this doesn’t fit the LNP party line at the moment.

    2 REPLY
    • Australia’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Target

      The Government , with the Ministers for Foreign Affairs and the Environment, announced that Australia will reduce greenhouse gas emissions so they are 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. An issues paper was released to inform the process.

      This is a strong, fair and responsible target. It builds on Australia’s strong track record of success in reducing emissions and steps up our efforts into the future.

      Australia exceeded its first Kyoto target and is on track to meet and beat its 2020 target. Meanwhile people who don’t know, or what to misconstrue, the facts continue to prattle on.

    • This is just so much political spin it makes it sound reasonable. Dig deeper into the facts and you will find some very dubious and rubbery figures to achieve these results. Australia is NOT doing enough because vested interests won’t allow the real effective decisions to be made.

  5. Hole in the Ozone Layer, Global Warming and now Climate Change, the name changes when the money stops coming in. But thanks to the labor/greens, we will always have it.

    3 REPLY
    • Now there is a dumb statement if I ever saw one. Are you suggesting the Ozone issue was a Labor Green money grab.

    • A
      Allan please take a look at or You will note that the mean ozone hole size has stabilized around 2010 following the banning of CFC’s in the 1970s. The chemical reactions of CFCs with ozone were understood in laboratory experiments and that was the basis for their banning. You will note that there is a lag in the response of the order of 40 years. Yes the ozone hole is an ongoing real life experiment and its outcome may not be certain for another 40 years, providing we do not in the meantime introduce another chemical product which will similarly affect the ozone productio-destruction cycle.
      We often do not have a complete scientific understanding of natural systems – they are often incredibly complex and it is difficult to isolate critical variables as we do in laboratory experiments. Natural systems are however often characterized by time lags similar or even larger than that of the ozone layer. When our scientific understanding and modelling on the basis of that understanding indicates that we may have a long term problem, we may have to act long before we have a complete understanding or we may find ourselves in the position of understanding perfectly why live has become incredibly difficult (or we may no longer even exist). It is prudent to act even if ultimately the science proves to be wrong when we achieve a better understanding in the future.

  6. Human generated climate change is real but most people are driven by greed and self-interest so many of us pretend that it is not real because we will be dead before human existence becomes unbearable on this planet – we will leave the problem for future generations to deal with.
    Would you expect any better of the generation that are proudly, ‘spending the kids inheritance’?

    3 REPLY
    • Hahahhaa. I’ve got news for you. The climate has been changing since day dot and will continue to do so. Nothing you or I do will change that!

    • Poor John the “Vicky Victim” of climate change. Why don’t you “man-up” and do something about saving our society rather than being a helpless victim – following your logic (lol) because floods have been happening for all time no one would have bothered to put in dams and other flood mitigation efforts or why bother with bush fire brigades to fight bushfires because fires have been happening since long before humans existed. LOL

  7. Scientific evidence shows that the planet has cooled and heated up many times since it formed. This process is continuing. Having said that we do need to spend money on renewable energy and stop our reliance of fossil fuel.

    1 REPLY
    • What you say is true but not the whole story. The rates of change in the past while appearing rapid on the geological time scale are often much slower then the rates of increase in global temperatures we are currently experiencing.And in the past when rapid change has occurred the biological systems of the planet have been affected. While some of the major mass extinctions appear to be the result of climate change primarily caused by volcanism or meteor impact there have no doubt been other periods where specific species have been adversely affected. What differs is we are aware of climate change being caused by the release of CO2 from fossil fuel burning and unlike past species we have the capacity to alter our behaviour to mitigate if not prevent the potential extinction of ourselves and most other species on land on the planet. If you are aware ofa potential harmful effect it is generally regarded as negligence not to do something about it.

  8. I think a lot if it happens when we get rid of open farmlands and put in more concrete jungles. Less trees more sun bouncing off the concrete making the days hotter with more humidity. But the pollies don”t care the developers don’t either and we just bury our heads.

  9. I believe climate change is heavily influenced by man made factors. Some of the more alarmist predictions have been incorrect as scientist have not had clear examples of what will occur but are making intelligent guesses. The evidence though is that it is happening, water temperature rising, glaciers melting and weather patterns becoming less predictable and weather events more extreme. Millions of dollars have been spent on the anti climate change argument by those within industries that pollute the worst. The Koch brothers in America are a prime example.

    2 REPLY
    • Millions of dollars have been made by the Climate Change industry that has sprung up. There are Incomes to protect!

      1 REPLY
      • So John you would rather support old industries which will harm our future rather than develop new industries coping with reducing that harm -great choice!!

    • Old industry has a lot to lose too John. Renewables is new and emerging and much money will be made but the big money right now is in the hands of those old industries which have a lot to lose if ordered to clean up or close. Of the two I’d say big mining can demonstrate their massive self interest on a world wide level, communities destroyed in Africa by the pollution in their rivers, underground water sources polluted in the US.

  10. If it was called Ocean Change as opposed to Climate Change, it may make more sense to a lot more people. That is, the change to ocean temperatures, which has an effect on our weather and health, and acidity of our oceans also affecting the health of this very important ecosystem. Unhealthy ocean rings alarm bells in my head. Definitely caused by carbon emissions and deforestation, there’s no denying it. The Nationals are more aware than the Liberals as they are experiencing the effects on a daily basis.

  11. Here we go again. The 97% are from the 126 who responded to a questionnaire circulated through the scientific community some years back. The most important fact garnered by this “research” was that 14,000 questionnaires were sent out and the majority of “published” scientists didn’t even respond.
    And now for the CSIRO and Weather Bureau, well what can I say, they changed the way they collected data when the actual data didn’t agree with their computer modelling.
    But the most telling fact I believe is the use of words “possibility” and “chance of” for weather forecasts for tommorrow.
    If they can’t predict what tommorrows weather is going to be, what chance do they have of predicting it 20, 10. 5 years ahead.
    The Intergovernmental Climate agency operated under the auspices of the UN has one huge flaw that negates everything they report. None of it’s scientists are in the top 25% of climate scientists and another huge flaw is the fact that they can’t see the fact that their gathered data does not correspond to their computer models. Not even one of the models they use comes within 50% of what the actual data shows and they use hundreds.
    It is about time we stopped cow-towing at the alter of this latest religion.

    1 REPLY
    • Neil the 97% are of scientist who are involved in climate research in some ways. As i scientist I often had opinions on science outside my area of research but I don’t give as much weight to my opinion s there as I do in areas where I have carried out research and developed some understanding and expertise. It is hardly surprising that scientists in general, the majority of whom do not have specific expertise in climate change do not express an opinion as scientists. Since I retired as a physicist, I have had the time to review the reported results on climate change and I have changed my position from cautious but uncommitted to highly committed to doing something while we still have the opportunity to make a difference.

  12. Although some change can be attributed to natural change, the major part is human contribution and our unwillingness to change our behaviours is disturbing. It does not just mean renewable energy, but also not clearing land, keeping trees, recycling. Carbon emissions. Greed is a major contribution. I am aware I need to be less profligate but you get used to having cooling and heating at a press of a button, I like to use my car. To leave a world for future generations we do need to make changes, even if it drip filter, one action at a time, one person at a time, one country at a time.

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