A majority of Australians agree climate change is happening, but their reason seems to depend on the political party they support.
A five-year survey of almost 17,500 Australians by the CSIRO found that 78 per cent believed the earth’s climate was changing.
While most attributed it to humans, there was a division along political lines.
Just 28 per cent of Liberal voters accept it was driven by human activity, compared to 59 per cent of those who vote for Labor, 22 per cent of Nationals supporters and 76 per cent Greens backers.
But researcher Zoe Leviston said those opinions were more closely linked to deep-seated individual world views than political allegiances.
‘I think it’s an over simplification to say it’s driven by political leanings,’ she told the ABC on Wednesday.
A variation in answers to similar questions in the survey revealed some confusion about the causes of climate change, suggesting people’s attitudes weren’t set in stone.
The report found those who think climate change is human-induced were more likely to base their opinion on scientific research.
But those who did not believe climate change was happening, or caused by a natural process, were more likely to select common sense, the weather or historical events as their basis.
‘Politicians were also rarely nominated as a basis for opinions, despite the strong associations that opinions had with voting behaviour,’ the report noted.
Big-polluting countries, multinational corporations, wealthy countries and the government were seen as most responsible for responding to the issue.