Ends versus means on global warming

This month’s Newspoll on nuclear power plants, as reported in The Australian yesterday, again highlights the political complexity of the greenhouse issue. While several polls confirm that the public believes global warming to be a major issue, they do not accept the most feasible ways of reducing emissions. In this poll, 50% are against nuclear power plants, and only 35% are in favour – with most of the remaining 15% of unsure respondents likely to go for a negative response if pressed (if people are forced to choose they tend to go for status quo options; all the more so on an issue ripe for scare campaigns like this one).

Due to the particular history of this issue, with opposition to uranium mining an article of faith on the left, we have the situation of Labor voters being considerably more likely (80%/60%) than Coalition voters to think global warming is a serious issue but considerably less likely (29%/51%) than Coalition voters to support a way of significantly reducing emissions. It is another example of the reluctance of left-of-centre voters to see politics and policy in pragmatic terms.