The United Nations' science body released a major report on climate change this week. But do you think it changed one single Australian's mind?
You know the kind of report it is and what's in it without reading it. Climate change is real and largely caused by people, it's more serious than we thought, cue melting ice caps/rising sea levels/droughts/etc. Predictably, in Australia, Fairfax and the ABC gave the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report extensive coverage while it was largely ignored
by News Corporation papers. So people who already think climate change is real had their views reinforced, and people who don't didn't hear about it.
There have been many such reports this century -- from the IPCC (in 2001, 2007, 20014), universities, economists, NGOs, governments (green papers, white papers). Perhaps too many; Australians don't seem to be listening.
Less than 50% of Australians think human-induced climate change is happening, according to extensive survey work by CSIRO. That number has dropped
slightly in the last four years despite mounting scientific evidence to the contrary. This was the result when the CSIRO interviewed 5200 people last year:
The CSIRO found Australians were more concerned about household rubbish than climate change. And to every activist or expert who talks about "climate mitigation," here's a news flash: 81% of Australians have no idea what that means.