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Forty-four percent of Australians place climate change within their three largest environmental concerns, 9% greater than the 2018 figure, and significantly higher than the global standard of 37%, new polling has shown.

A new study by market research firm Ipsos — conducted among 28 nations between 2018 and 2019 — revealed Australians are also more concerned than the worldwide average when it comes to dealing with waste, the future of energy sources, and overpopulation.

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"The findings show that more people around the world and in Australia are concerned about climate change and plastics in the environment than ever before,” David Elliott, director of Ipsos Australia, said in a media release. “Australians are actually more concerned about all of these issues than the global average.”

Eight in ten Australians reported feeling concerned about the impact of plastic on the environment.

Australians, however, were more dubious than average about the effectiveness of various government solutions to curb non-recyclable product waste. Except for taxing plastic products to increase their price, Australians were overall less inclined to support policy solutions like fining households that do not recycle enough and public information campaigning.

"We are relatively supportive of some government interventions to tackle the problem of plastics,” Elliott elaborated. “For example, 44% of Australians (compared to 46% globally) support additional government spending to ensure we can recycle a wider range of materials. With China taking less of the world’s plastic over the past couple of years, that shows some support for homegrown solutions.”

Australians were also less worried about air pollution (15% compared to 35% globally), water pollution (13% against 25%), and deforestation (16% versus 24%). 


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By Madeleine Keck