Australians are more fearful of climate change than being infected with COVID-19, the Guardian reports.
The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer interviewed 1,350 Australians late last year about a range of issues and their trust in non-government organisations, business, technology, government and media. The survey found climate change was the second biggest issue of distress for Australians, behind job security, with 66% of respondents saying they were nervous about its irreversible impact.
Over a third of those surveyed said they were more afraid of changing climates than COVID-19 symptoms.
Just 25% of respondents were fearful about being infected.
Except technology, all other major Australian institutions recorded increases in trust levels from the Australian public.
CEO of Edelman Australia Michelle Hutton said the swell in trust across the board was “astonishing.”
"The astonishing gains in trust we’ve seen across the board tells us that Australians are responding well to how institutions have behaved through the pandemic,” Hutton told the Guardian. “What’s interesting, however, is that more Australians are concerned about climate change than they are about contracting COVID-19 — suggesting there’s a rising awareness of the long-term, potentially calamitous impact to society.”
Australians fear climate change more than catching Covid, survey shows https://t.co/jV1all80j2— The Guardian (@guardian) February 18, 2021
The study’s results on climate change echo similar environmental reports from 2020.
A poll by the Guardian Essential from December showed 3 in 4 respondents wanted Australia to commit to net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2030, as opposed to the 2050 target currently being discussed. Just over 70%, meanwhile, want to see fossil fuel companies barred from providing donations to political parties.
The reports come just months after Australia scored just 0.8 out of 10 on a global environmental scorecard.
The Edelman Trust Barometer report also reveals that 58% of the Australian population agree that the pandemic has deepened inequalities around the world, with those with less education and money “unfairly burdened with most of the suffering.”