The UNSW is bringing together the world’s leading Universities and Researchers to create a global consortium after a recent survey revealed the attitudes of the majority of Australians to climate change.
The survey conducted by uCommunications Pty Ltd for UNSW on November 18 this year showed an overwhelming amount of people (62.7%) agreed that climate change is making some weather events more extreme, intense and regular and the majority of Australians believe it is right to talk about climate change during disaster events such as the recent bushfire emergency.
A leadership role for Australia on climate change is supported by 64.3 percent of people, while an even greater number support the creation of a global alliance of leading climate change researchers and universities to help political leaders understand the importance of addressing climate change.
Professor Matthew England, of the UNSW Climate Change Research Centre, said they know that climate change is already having a significant negative impact, so it is understandable that people are frustrated about the lack of leadership in tackling this issue.
"That is why we are engaging with international partners and research programs to help Australia transition to a low or zero carbon emission country," Professor England said.
“We have some of the best scientific and business minds in the world right here at home, and we need to harness that capability to deliver action to reduce global carbon emissions urgently."
“If done correctly, Australia’s experience in renewable energy and energy storage technology will also deliver many economic and social benefits through the growth of new industries and manufacturing capability, powered by renewables, as well as new knowledge and technology export markets," he said.
UNSW President and Vice Chancellor, Professor Ian Jacobs said there is strong interest in forming this scientific global coalition with other climate-leading universities and we seek collective action to urgently address the challenge of climate change on a non-political basis.
“We want to bring the best international minds together to respond to this challenge, and it is clear from our latest community attitudes survey that the Australian people support action like this," Professor Jacobs said.
The survey highlighted that most people wanted greater government action to address climate change, and this was more apparent for city dwellers - UNSW President and Vice Chancellor, Professor Ian Jacobs
The survey also found a differing of attitudes towards issues related to climate change by those living in metropolitan cities compared to those in rural and regional areas.
The differing views between those living in cities verses country on how to deal with climate change were apparent on a number of questions, including by responses to the statement that an Australian climate change policy must ensure a fair or just transition to low or zero carbon emissions for all workers and industries.
While 64.5 per cent of those in cities agreed with this statement, only 51.3 per cent of those in the country agreed and even though the worst impacts of climate change are not expected until the end of the century, 70.7 per cent of people in metro areas said a strong climate response is needed now from the Australian Government, compared to 54.1 per cent of those living in rural and regional areas.
“Just over 67 percent of all people believe Australia needs a comprehensive climate change policy, and 53 percent say it is right to talk about climate change during an extreme event such as the recent bush fire emergencies compared to 35 per cent who say it is not ok,” Professor Jacobs said.
Overall, 72 percent agree renewable energy is crucial in helping to reduce harmful emissions and slow climate change and 76.8 percent believe the best way to help Australia obtain a comprehensive climate change policy is through an open consultation process involving scientific leaders and the heads of the community, business and political parties.