Climate Action Survey, 2021: Technical Report

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Bradley, Graham
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Griffith University’s Climate Action Beacon conducted the first of five planned Climate Action Surveys in September-October 2021. The survey aimed to discover what Australians think, feel, and do about climate change and related environmental and climatic events, conditions, and issues. This report gives details of the background to the survey, as well as its methods, major findings, and potential implications. To conduct the survey, a quota sample of resident Australian adults, stratified by gender, age group, and state of Australia, was recruited. An online questionnaire was constructed through processes of consultation with stakeholders, review of the academic and opinion poll literature, and iterative pilot-testing. The final version of the questionnaire comprised 188 single items/questions, approximately 30 multi-item composite scales, and nine open-ended questions. After removal of cases that did not meet quality criteria, data from a final sample of 3,915 people (51.1% female, Mage = 46.6 years) were available for analysis. The survey content pertains to the extent and distribution of different views about climate change; feelings/concerns about the threat and reality of climate change; knowledge of climate change and information sources used to obtain this knowledge; experiences of extreme weather events, natural disasters, and perceived manifestations of climate change; pro-environmental behaviours and lifestyles, and barriers to engaging in such behaviours and lifestyles; and broader worldviews and socio-political opinions. Extensive demographic data were also obtained from the participants, and this enables identification of sub-group differences in key climate change variables. Major conclusions to be drawn from the study pertain to the high prevalence of beliefs in, and concerns about, climate change, and the overwhelming support for government policies that facilitate mitigation of the rate and extent of climate change. The results strongly suggest that, while climate change may have concerned a minority of Australians a decade ago, it is a mainstream issue that causes concern among, and elicits demands for action from, a majority of the populace in 2021. Findings have implications for climate change community interventions, government policy, future research, and theory development. More specifically, the findings suggest particular policies to pursue, and variables, strategies, and population sub-groups to target in future endeavours to promote climate action. At the time of writing, more detailed analyses of the quantitative and qualitative data, and deeper consideration of the implications of the findings, are ongoing. A second survey is planned for September 2022.

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© 2022 Griffith University. All rights reserved. This report may not be copied, duplicated, transmitted, or used in any way in whole or in part or by any means (other than for the purposes of fair dealing, as defined in the Copyright Act 1968) without express permission in writing. Permission requests and enquiries concerning reproduction rights should be emailed to:
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Bradley, G, Climate Action Survey, 2021: Technical Report, 2022