Wednesday January 16, 2007 2:30pm WST
For Immediate Release
"A recently published Coredata Survey (article below) on what Australians regard as the most important issues, shows overwhelmingly how the Howard government is failing Australians on climate change issues," WA Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning, after NEWS.com.au published results of a survey of more than 3000 respondents.
"The ambivalence of John Howard at the time of Al Gore's visit to Australia, while promoting his movie Inconvenient Truth, coupled with his insistence on sponsoring the Mining Industry rather than that he starts supporting the Kyoto Protocol and introduces penalties on dirty industries, thus making any policy that halts Australia's pollution subservient to big industry's wish and command, is clearly at the heart of this indictment on Australian politicians, where respondents clearly said that they do not trust government on Climate change policies, spokesman Jack H Smit said.
The fact that Australians clearly rate Climate issues as the single most important issues, provides an opportunity for "Bob Brown to compete with Peter Garrett" for the best policies in the lead-up to the 2007 Federal Election," Mr Smit continued. "Clearly, Howard is not making the cut, and we'd rather see The Great Debate prior to the Election to be a Live television Debate between the Green's leader Bob Brown and ALP Environment spokesman Peter Garrett.
"A TV debate between Bob Brown and Peter Garrett may well blow the top off the roof of the TV ratings - so let's have one," Mr Smit said.
For more information:
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]
Mass concern at climate change
By Leticia Makin
January 17, 2007 06:00am
AUSTRALIANS are more worried about climate change than terrorism or any other global issue but believe there is widespread public misunderstanding about it, according to a NEWS.com.au survey.
Three-quarters of respondents said they had given close personal attention to climate change but more than half said they believed Australians were poorly informed about it, reflecting what one expert described as "mass public confusion surrounding climate change in Australia".
An overwhelming majority of respondents said they did not trust the Government on the environment, and while 68 per cent said Australia should sign the Kyoto Protocol, an even greater proportion - 82 per cent - said Australian policy should go further than the treaty to tackle climate change.
There were 3032 respondents to the survey, which was taken last month by Coredata in partnership with NEWS.com.au.
Almost 60 per cent of Coalition voters said the Government's efforts at tackling climate change were insufficient, suggesting it could be a key policy area for swing voters in this year's federal election.
Dr John Zillman, President of Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, and former director of meteorology in Australia, said there was "mass public confusion surrounding climate change in Australia because there are two completely different definitions" of what constitutes climate change.
"One is used by the scientific community in which climate change means an assessment of any change in climate from year-to-year or decade-to-decade no matter the reason behind it," Dr Zillman said.
"The second is the political United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which says climate change is that due only to human influence."
Alex Horwood, 26, of Melbourne, said she understood that climate change was "mainly global warming caused by man-made pollutants" but also felt the majority of Australians could not make the same distinction.
"Most people don't care until it is a disaster so now the drought is so bad people pay attention, but even still I think most people don't care that much because they think it's not affecting the ... but it is," Ms Horwood said.
Dr Zillman said that despite people being confused as to the exact meaning behind climate change they were right to believe humans could be responsible for the change.
"In the past century the global average temperature has gone up by 0.6-0.7 of a degree which is larger rise than believed to have occurred in the last thousand years or so and there is evidence (like greenhouse gasses) to suggest that this is because of humans," Dr Zillman said.
Both Liberal and Labor voters said they did not trust the Government to do enough to combat climate change nor to accurately assess issues of environmental protection.
Along with their failing trust in the Government, respondents felt businesses was also untrustworthy, with more than 82 per cent saying they did not believe companies would make the right decisions when it came to protecting the environment.
Only 26.5 per cent of respondents agreed nuclear power should be used as a means of tackling the effects of climate change. Half believed that nuclear energy would not make that great a difference to the extent of the nation's carbon emissions.
Dr Zillman said the use of nuclear energy could "contribute in a significant way to reducing greenhouse gases and then in effect human induced climate change".
"The logic is that if climate change is occurring due to greenhouse gas emission then we need to reduce this and one of the ways to do this is to consider using nuclear sources," Dr Zillman said.
"I feel very very strongly that we must look at nuclear energy and weight it up as an option ... we can't ignore it."