The hip pocket politics of climate change

The Treasury modelling of climate change abatement released this week put the likely cost at about $1 a day for the average household. An ANU poll (pdf) also released this week confirmed a general willingness to pay higher prices to protect the environment. But how does this dollar-a-day price to climate change abatement compare to more specific polling on the issue?

A Climate Institute poll of marginal seats last November found just 13% of its sample were prepared to pay $30 a month or more, the cost range according to Treasury. The annual Lowy Institute survey, which was carried out during July, found only 19% of its respondents were prepared to pay $21 a month or more.

Though there has been an advertising campaign for the government’s package since these two polls, it was only telling people what they already thought (something needs to be done), not selling them on a price, so I doubt the punters’ opinion on how much they are happy to spend will have softened. It is more likely that it has hardened, as voters focus on protecting their short term financial position during what will at best be a significant slowdown, if not a recession.

Though the dollar-a-day at least gives the government’s spin doctors something specific to work with, the polling shows that they are starting from a very low base of support.

3 thoughts on “The hip pocket politics of climate change

  1. The Youth Travel market also reflects that people say something should be done about climate change but when asked to pay for it they don’t.

    This SMH article says that only 9 percent of people aged 18-34, the main believers in climate change will pay to have their flights offset.


  2. It the science really backs the claim that we have to act urgently to save the planet then surely the Government should be asking us to pay five or ten per cent of our incomes to get real about the problem. At least the Deep Greens and Getup are probably prepared to follow their logic to the end on that. How credible is it to suggest that such a massive problem (if that is the truth of the matter) can be addressed for a dollar a day per household. People in NSW who opt to pay extra for “green” power are probably paying that much already.


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