Net Zero Not as Important as Affordable Energy: Poll

48 percent of Australians said they want to pay nothing towards Australia reducing emissions to zero by 2050. Only 2 percent are willing to pay more than $500.
Net Zero Not as Important as Affordable Energy: Poll
Wind turbines are seen on the horizon at sunset in Albany, Western Australia, on May 19, 2024. (Susan Mortimer/The Epoch Times)
Monica O’Shea

Affordable and reliable energy is a priority for Australians over net zero targets, according to a poll commissioned by the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA).

The new poll undertaken by Dynata in early June asked Australians, “What should be the main focus of the federal government’s energy policy?”

In response, 57 percent responded with affordability, up from 41 percent in 2022. Meanwhile, 24 percent responded with reliability, down from 31 percent in 2022.

Only 19 percent of individuals surveyed in the poll responded with “meeting the net zero emissions by 2050 target,” down from 28 percent in 2022.

IPA Deputy Executive Director Daniel Wild said support for prioritising affordability and reliability has increased from 72 percent to 81 percent compared to 2022.

“That 81 percent of Australians think the focus of the nation’s energy policy should be affordability or reliability demonstrates that Peter Dutton’s instincts are correct regarding the relatively low priority Australians place on unrealistic emissions reduction targets,” he said.
“As mainstream Australians continue to suffer through a cost-of-living crisis, it is time governments prioritise energy affordability and reliability, rather than continue to force a failing energy transition to expensive and unreliable renewables.”

48 percent Want to Pay ‘Nothing’ to Achieve Net Zero by 2050

The poll also asked, “How much would you personally be willing to pay each year for Australia to reduce its emissions to zero by 2050?”

In response, 48 percent said “nothing,” 29 percent responded with $50 a year, 18 percent said $100 a year, 3 percent said $500 a year, and only 2 percent said more than $500 a year.

Mr. Wild highlighted that this demonstrates almost half of Australians are not willing to pay a dollar to reach net zero.

He said this demonstrates the limited support for the policy of net zero emissions by 2050.

The poll showed a shift from 2022, when 42 percent of Australians said they would pay “nothing” for the net zero push.

30 percent were willing to pay $50 a year on these emissions targets, 20 percent said they were happy to pay $100, 5 percent were willing to pay $500, and 3 percent said they would fork out more than $500.

54 percent of Australians Want to Abandon Net Zero Target

Further, the poll revealed that more than half of Australians, or 54 percent, believe the country should pause its commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 until there are enough energy supplies to avoid blackouts.

Conversely, 20 percent disagreed, up from 17 percent in 2022.

“The announcement that the Coalition would abandon Australia’s unachievable 2030 renewables and emissions target should they win government means Australians will finally have debate on the failing energy transition and net zero,” Mr. Wild said.

“The only way to lower power bills, and to secure our energy grid, is with affordable and reliable energy generation.

“Canberra needs to put mainstream Australians first, abandon its reckless net zero commitments, and push to get more coal and gas generation into the market.”

Separate Poll Finds 57 Percent Say Global Warming is ‘Serious’

Meanwhile, a separate poll released by the Lowy Institute found that 57 percent of Australians consider global warming a “serious and pressing problem.”

These Australians regard global warming as an issue that requires the country “to begin taking steps now, even if this involves significant costs.”

The Lowy Institute said that three in ten believe the problem of global warming should be addressed, but its effects will be gradual, so the problem can be dealt with gradually by taking steps that are low in cost.

In addition, the poll discovered 12 percent have the view, that “until we are sure that global warming is really a problem, we should not take any steps that would have economic costs.”

The poll also showed generational and political divides: 73 percent of Australians aged 18–29 view global warming as a serious issue, compared to 51 percent of those over 60.

Further, the Lowy Institute noted political views are associated strongly with how Australians answer the question.

71 percent of Labor voters see global warming as a pressing problem, compared to 29 percent of Liberal and National Coalition voters.

Among Coalition voters, 48 percent believe in dealing with the problem gradually with measures that cost less.

Meanwhile, the poll also showed that 48 percent of Australians believe reducing household energy bills should be the major priority for the government’s energy policy. This is up 16 percent from 2021.

Further, Australians who believe that “reducing carbon emissions” should be the major priority have fallen 18 points to 37 percent.

Regarding the national target of 82 percent renewable electricity by 2030, one-third, or 33 percent of Australians consider it “too ambitious.”

41 percent regard the target as “about right,” while 25 percent say it is “not ambitious enough.”

Monica O’Shea is a reporter based in Australia. She previously worked as a reporter for Motley Fool Australia, Daily Mail Australia, and Fairfax Regional Media.