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Dramatic slump in numbers concerned about climate change

Media release

August 3 2012

Dramatic slump in number of Kiwis who think climate change is a problem

The number of New Zealanders who think climate change is an urgent and immediate problem has slumped, according to a new poll.

A HorizonPoll for Carbon News, being published this morning finds that just over half of adult New Zealanders consider it urgent or a “problem for now”.

But four years ago, three out of four New Zealanders held that view.

The latest poll, of 2829 New Zealanders aged 18-plus, conducted between July 5 and 16, shows that 52.4 per cent of respondents consider climate change to be either an urgent problem (21.4 per cent) or a problem for now (31 per cent). Fourteen per cent said it was a problem for later, 19.5 per cent said it wasn’t a problem, and 14.1 per cent said they didn’t know.

A similar poll conducted in 2008 showed that 26.1 per cent of respondents considered it to be an urgent problem, 49.3 per cent said it was a problem for now, 9.2 per cent said it was a problem for later, 13 per cent said it wasn’t a problem, and 2.4 per cent said they didn’t know.

The number considering climate change to be urgent or to need addressing now has fallen from 75.4 per cent in 2008 to 52.4 per cent today.

Carbon News, the country's only specialist information service on the carbon markets, says the drop is in line with a recent survey by Yale University, which shows that over the same period, the number of respondents ranking climate change as a high or very high priority for the American government has dropped from 54 per cent to 40 per cent.

Not surprisingly, the latest New Zealand poll shows that concern about climate change is strongest among respondents who voted for the Greens in the last general election (78.3 per cent).

But Maori Party voters (77.2 per cent) felt nearly as strongly, followed by Mana (64.7 per cent) and Labour (60.3 per cent).

Among respondents who voted National at the last election, more think climate change is not a problem (47 per cent) than think it is (40.6 per cent), placing them further to the right on the climate-denying spectrum than Conservative voters (52.6 per cent of whom consider it urgent or a problem for now) and than even Act (44.6 per cent).

The result is covered in the first of a four part series of reports on the study on New Zealand's views on climate issues.

Other topics will include

Who should be taking action (including business people) and which policies should have priority

Climate change policy initiatives New Zealanders most support, and

Whether green growth reduces or increases economic activity and jobs

Carbon News Editor Adelia Hallett says the research is part of an effort to keep the mostly-large corporates involved in emissions trading up to date on what their consumer markets are thinking.


© Scoop Media

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