UTS News Room

12:54PM, Tuesday May 1, 2012

Think. Change. Do.

Australians want action on an ETS now

A UTS research project targeting more than 7000 Australians, staggered over four studies, has shown most voters want the Government to adopt an ETS now with bigger emission reductions taking place sooner than 2013.

Conducted with yearly intervals, the findings of the studies also show that voters want to see revenues generated by an ETS being used to ease poverty, assist seniors and invested in research and development.

Jordan Louviere

Reducing taxes for business was shown to be unpopular with most voters when the research studies presented them with a range of potential ETS plans that included widely varying features.

The study was conducted by researchers from the UTS Centre for the Study of Choice. Centre Director Professor Jordan Louviere said the research UTS had conducted over the past four years showed that over time respondents were highly consistent in their levels of support for the potential features describing an ETS plan.

He said the Government’s proposed Citizen’s Assembly to judge on the adoption of an emissions trading scheme was unnecessary and further delayed taking action now - what the community has clearly wanted for years.

“The Government, opposition and Greens would benefit from taking a serious look at the work UTS has done because we have consistently shown in four separate studies, with a very large sample of voters, what the community will and will not accept in an ETS,” Professor Louviere said.

“It is possible, now, for the Government to come up with a workable ETS plan that meets the community’s expectations and makes the tradeoffs clear that will come with an effective plan.

“From the public's perspective any climate change plan consists of eight key features: When does it start? How will revenue be collected? What will be done with the revenue raised? What happens with the transport sector? Are energy intensive sectors of the economy given special treatment? Does the plan have a strong R&D component? What reduction in carbon emissions should Australia aim for? Finally, should Australia move now or wait for other countries?

“We asked our survey respondents to choose between plans consisting of different options for these features. In doing so we made it clear to them the nature of trade-offs that would be involved in, say, holding back on the start of an emissions trading scheme or protecting certain industries.

“In this regard, our main survey questions were quite different than opinion questions often posed that do not highlight the necessary consequences of an action or require people to make tradeoffs.”

“Overall our results suggest that Australians are committed to a climate change plan that works. They believe that it is happening and clearly recognise that there are substantial costs to adopting a plan. They view the impacts of climate change for Australia and even more so for developing countries as serious.”

Details of the studies conducted by the UTS Centre for the Study of Choice can be obtained from http://www.censoc.uts.edu.au

Contact person

Robert Button (+61 2 9514 1734)

Credits: Story image - Terry Clinton
Homepage news image - Photographer Michael Hall

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