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Australia Faces Uphill Battle to Address Climate Change

Australia Faces Uphill Battle to Address Climate Change

On the eve of an international climate change summit, some experts say it will take global pressure to get the country to step up its efforts.

For more than a year the globe has grappled with a novel coronavirus that has killed over 3 million people and sickened many more.

The pandemic consumed the efforts of many nations that struggled to steady their economies and keep inundated health care facilities functioning. But with COVID-19 vaccines gaining regulatory approvals and access to the shots expanding, some are looking at 2021 with renewed hope of climate action.

One country that will likely face calls to action is Australia.

Despite a growing number of citizens who believe the effects of climate change are real, Australia is largely seen as falling behind other countries in its climate change pledges.

"I just really wouldn't expect Australia to be a leader on this front," says Lachlan Carey of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "It's going to have to be sort of pulled kicking and screaming into any serious climate action."

Australia's Climate Change Views

Of developed countries, Australia is one of the most at-risk for impacts of climate change. Yet it ranked second to last on climate change policy in the Climate Change Performance Index 2021 report.

Further, Australia's citizens fall in the lower range of countries when asked if they believe climate change is real, according to data from the 2021 Best Countries report. With roughly 82% of respondents in Australia agreeing with the statement, "The effects of climate change are real," Australia's results line up with countries like Sweden, Norway and Russia and are several percentage points lower than the global average of agreement, which was 89%.

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