After three weeks of nearly non-stop discussion of a carbon emissions trading scheme public knowledge of it is…decreasing! On 1 July, The Age reported that half those surveyed by a Galaxy Poll had either not heard of an emissions trading scheme or did not know what it was. Today another Age report, this time of an ACNielsen poll, finds ignorance at 60% (I think the inclusion of a ‘slightly’ understand option pushed up those willing to confess to being baffled by the biggest reform in a decade).
Overall, there is a similar pattern here to other polling, which shows that most people are, at least in principle, willing to pay more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The only question in this poll to yield new and interesting information was on whether Australia should act regardless of what other countries do. A surprisingly high number – 77% – say yes, with 19% saying we should reduce greenhouse gas emissions only if other nations do. I’d like to see more polling that investigates whether people believe that Australia acting alone will have much of an effect or not. With most respondents admitting to at best sketchy knowledge, it is hard to know what factual assumptions are behind the answers they are giving.