Understanding climate change perceptions

In order to better target government climate change policies to influence citizens, it is critical that we have a good understanding of current community attitudes to climate change. In late 2016, Sustainability Victoria undertook one of the most comprehensive surveys of Victorians in relation to their attitudes towards climate change, renewable energy, and energy efficiency. Over 3,300 Victorians were surveyed with at least 1,500 responses from regional Victoria. These results are capable of being extrapolated to the total state population. Some of the key findings include the following:

  • 80% of Victorians are willing to act on climate change and 82% of Victorians said that they believed that their actions could make a difference.
  • Victorians expect action on climate change from all parts of our economy, including all levels of government, business, community groups, and, importantly, they recognise that individuals also need to contribute to action on climate change.
  • 73% said that they would prefer to buy from businesses that show they care about climate change and there is strong demand for sustainable goods and services.
  • There is very strong support for large scale renewable energy infrastructure, including strong support in regional Victoria. This support is irrespective of whether they believe climate change is an urgent issue that requires action now. The Victorian population has a strong interest in renewable energy and new technology – and energy independence is a key driver of this.
  • 79% of Victorians said that they would be proud to live in a state that is leading the way on climate change.
  • 84% are supportive of the ambitious Victorian renewable energy targets of 25% by 2020 and 40% by 2025

These findings can help remove barriers and create motivators for general action and specific behaviours to make action easier and catalyse community behaviour change. This research will help to translate the general concern and general high-level willingness to act on climate change that was evident from this social research into specific and tangible behaviours that help mitigate climate change in cities and regions.