What do Australians think about climate change, how do they rank this issue among others and how ‘green’ are they? How do your own attitudes, beliefs and behaviours compare with the 2014 survey participants’?
The fourth annual survey of Australian attitudes to climate change is part of a series of CSIRO publications examining Australians’ responses to climate change. The report outlines the findings from a survey of over 5000 Australians conducted in July and August 2013. Similar to previous years, the survey found 4 out of 5 people think the earth’s climate is changing, and people are more likely to think that human activity is the cause.
There has been an increase in the levels of responsibility individuals feel to respond to climate change and people have also become more trusting about information from environmental and government scientists. Yet, although more than 70% of people said they thought climate change was an important issue, the results show they were overall more concerned about issues such as health, cost of living, employment, water shortages and pollution.
The survey also found more than half the participants tended to overestimate how ‘green’ they really are and how much they are doing for the environment compared to others. CSIRO social scientist Dr Zoe Leviston explains this result by refering to the “better than average effect”. The latter describes our predisposition to think of ourselves as exceptional, especially among our peers, and reflects our tendency to think of ourselves as more virtuous and moral, more compassionate and understanding, and less biased than other people.
In the video below, Dr Leviston discusses some of the report’s findings. She also gives a summary with some of the results in graph form at Most Australians overestimate how ‘green’ they really are.