More than two-thirds of Australians support achieving net zero emissions by 2050, according to newly released polling.
The Ipsos climate change report released on Monday shows 71 per cent of those surveyed support the government’s commitment to targets for the Paris Agreement.
The Morrison government’s current goal is for a 26 to 28 per cent reduction on 2005 emissions levels by 2030.
The survey shows 69 per cent support a target of net zero emissions by 2050, with 54 per cent thinking Australia should transition to a carbon neutral economy as soon as possible.
Some 1000 Australians were surveyed in January for the poll, with follow up questions taking place last month.
The follow up survey showed concern for climate change has continued to grow during the coronavirus pandemic, in contrast to a drop in care for the issue in the wake of the global financial crisis.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has flagged a change in the government’s climate policies by the end of the year, as Australia is currently an outlier without a clear net zero emissions goal.
Mr Morrison talked up Australia’s climate and environment credentials in a speech at a G20 event overnight.
It comes as a new report shows heat stress from rising temperatures and changing weather patterns poses risks for many Australian workers and not just for those who have outside jobs.
The Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work report found there were four groups of workers at high risk of heat stress: weather-exposed outdoor workers; emergency workers and firefighters facing situational extreme heat; workers moving between extreme heat and cold; and inside workers in environments with poor climate control.
Associate at the centre, Elizabeth Humphrys, said last summer’s devastating bushfires highlighted that for many workers appropriate policies are not always in place to ensure they are protected from dangerous heat stress.
“Workers need to be afforded greater protections to ensure their health and safety are paramount in extreme heat conditions,” Dr Humphrys said.
In Greater Sydney alone around 400,000 workers are in heat-exposed industries such as manufacturing, construction and transport.
The report found many workers say OHS policies do not offer adequate protection, and employers do not want work to stop even when heat stress risk is very high.
The hazardous heatwaves, air quality, and smoke generated in last summer’s bushfires also emphasised the inadequacy of current OHS regulations.
Dr Humphrys said to protect workers and the wider community policymakers must act to mitigate the impacts of heat stress.
The report recommends Australian federal and state governments urgently review the management of the current and likely impacts of climate change for workers.