The public wants clean energy – but this is Australia, where the climate wars never die

(The Guardian, 20 Feb 2024) Voters have made their position clear but our politicians are still not talking about how we can change the way we live and work to ease the climate crisis.

The last federal election was less than two years ago but the caravan moves on quickly. With politics dominated by cost-of-living concerns and daily distractions, it’s easy to forget the central role that dissatisfaction with the Coalition’s inaction and doublespeak on the climate crisis played in the result.

It wasn’t the only factor, but an in-depth study found it was the biggest issue in driving voters away from the major parties to independents. It was the second biggest in motivating people who changed their vote to Labor. It stands to reason it was at least as important in the Greens increasing their support and seat count.

We know from this and other data that Australians have backed a historically rapid shift from fossil fuels to cleaner energy to limit the climate crisis. Opinion polls are sometimes over interpreted, but there is evidence to suggest the public is ahead of politicians on this.

The basics of mainstream climate science are widely accepted. Australia’s average temperature has already increased by 1.5C in a little over a century, and heatwaves and extreme weather events are becoming more severe.

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The Guardian, 20 Feb 2024: The public wants clean energy – but this is Australia, where the climate wars never die