The findings of two surveys have been released this week revealing the extent to which Australians support renewable energy investments and desire stronger leadership from the federal Coalition government.
Surprisingly, a survey from Liberal party-aligned Blueprint Institute found 72% voters in traditional coal regions supported the redirection of government fossil fuel subsidies into renewable energy – with that sentiment holding true even among respondents who do not believe climate change is the result of humans. Put simply, even communities built on the back of coal with trepidations about climate science can see the future will be green.
“It seems the data rejects what some would have us think about the attitudes of people in regions, including regions which contain coal employment,” Blueprint regional researcher Kate Green said.
“The fact 68% of Coalition voters support this same prioritisation of renewable investment over fossil fuel subsidies was also striking. It’s clear regional people now believe the jobs created by renewables projects and clean hydrogen are real,” Green added.
The Blueprint Institute-commissioned survey polled 3,763 voters in the Queensland seats of Flynn, Maranoa, Capricornia; the Hunter, Shortland, Calare in New South Wales, as well as Gippsland (Victoria), Grey (South Australia), and O’Connor (Western Australia). It found 73% of respondents overall believe renewables projects would create jobs in their regions, while 74% would support a target to halve emissions by 2030.
Even among households employed by coal industries, 63% of respondents supported the redirection of subsidies from fossil fuels to renewable projects and 78% supported clean hydrogen projects.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Australia on Monday also published a report from its survey of 53 experts from private organisations, thinktanks, academic groups, and NGOs across finance, insurance, policy, advocacy, law, energy transition and investment.
It found 93% of experts felt Australia currently holds the natural resources to become a world leading renewable and clean manufacturing exporter. Be that as it may, 66% felt Australia lacks sufficient federal support to foster innovation and scale renewable and clean manufacturing opportunities, with 81% believe Australia does not yet have clear federal policy.
70% agreed WWF-Australia’s ambition to reach 700% renewables by 2050 is an achievable target, but felt Australia needed to grow its skills and capabilities to harness the potential.
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