Party Divides: Expertise in and Attitude Towards Climate Change among Australian Members of Parliament

Crawford School Research Paper

Crawford School of Economics and Government – Centre for Climate Economics & Policy (CCEP) Working Paper 8.10

36 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2011

See all articles by Anita Talberg

Anita Talberg

Centre for Climate Economics and Policy

Stephen Howes

Australian National University (ANU) - Development Policy Centre; Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy

Date Written: October 1, 2010

Abstract

This study investigates Australian federal politicians’ expertise in and attitudes towards climate change. Telephone interviews were conducted with a sample of 26 Members of Parliament (MPs). Results of the survey, undertaken in late 2009, suggest that climate change expertise is low to moderate among MPs, and that there is no correlation between expertise in and concern about climate change. The survey reveals important differences in attitudes to climate change by party. About 40 per cent of Coalition (Liberal and National) MPs are climate change ‘deniers’, but no Labor Party (ALP) MPs are. ALP MPs rate climate change as the most important (with water management) out of four long-term challenges, but Coalition MPs rate it as the least important (after not only water, but also aging and defence). All ALP MPs think climate change demands urgent action, and that Australia should play a leadership role globally, but only about one-fifth of Coalition MPs does. Even those Coalition MPs who are climate change ‘believers’ tend to give lower importance to climate change than ALP MPs.

Keywords: climate change, politicians, Australian Federal Politics

JEL Classification: Q54, D72

Suggested Citation

Talberg, Anita and Howes, Stephen, Party Divides: Expertise in and Attitude Towards Climate Change among Australian Members of Parliament (October 1, 2010). Crawford School Research Paper , Crawford School of Economics and Government – Centre for Climate Economics & Policy (CCEP) Working Paper 8.10, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1883451 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1883451

Anita Talberg

Centre for Climate Economics and Policy ( email )

ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
J.G. Crawford Building, #132, Lennox Crossing
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

Stephen Howes (Contact Author)

Australian National University (ANU) - Development Policy Centre ( email )

7 Liversidge Street (Bld 70)
Lennox Crossing
Canberra, 0200
Australia

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy

ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
J.G. Crawford Building, #132, Lennox Crossing
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

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