Over three quarters of Australians (77%) wanted business to be net zero or negative emissions and over half (58%) recognise the urgency of the climate crisis and the need to utilise all viable tools at our disposal to reduce emissions, according to Essential Research polling research commissioned by the Carbon Market Institute (CMI).

In particular, the survey of around 1000 Australians revealed expectations for all major political parties to be transparent about climate targets leading into the next election and supported funding and other support for Pacific neighbours in the front line of climate change.

The majority of respondents (59%) agreed it is important that all parties share strong 2035 emissions reduction targets and plans before the next election with just 17% disagreeing.

There is also a strong consensus that businesses have an important contribution to make, with 77% of Australians expecting businesses to not only take responsibility for all their emissions now by reducing and offsetting their emissions (50%), but also 27% supporting business going a step further by investing ways to become carbon negative.

CMI CEO John Connor said:

“After a turbulent few years, we are now entering a critical stage in the challenge of achieving net zero emissions by 2050, with a strong consensus among the community that time is running out, and more importantly, we must use all the tools at our disposal including high integrity carbon credits.”

“While governments must guide this ambition by setting stronger policies and targets, starting with our 2035 target due next year, the research also highlights community expectations for business to take responsibility for their emissions,” he said.

Other key findings:

  • 58% of participants agree (and 16% disagree) countries must use all viable solutions available to reduce emissions (including emissions directly, but also through other forms of carbon reduction, including use of high integrity carbon credits).
  • 59% of participants agree (and 16% disagree) that all sectors of the Australian economy should be subject to emissions reduction targets to ensure they contribute their fair share
  • 55% agree (and 18% disagree) that Australia has a leadership role to play in supporting their Pacific neighbors, particularly those on the front lines of climate change (e.g. by delivering funding, supporting climate projects, growing skills and training, or helping them to better adapt to the impact of climate change), and
  • 52% agree (and 19% disagree) that developed countries should set stronger climate targets than developing countries.
  • 61 % agree (and 15% disagree) that having strong climate commitments is a good way for a company to show it cares about Australia’s environment and long-term future.


About the research

An Essential Research omnibus survey was conducted online from 6th to 10th March 2024 and is based on 1,126 participants. The report is available here.


About the Carbon Market Institute

The Carbon Market Institute (CMI) is a member-based institute accelerating the transition towards a negative emissions, nature positive world. It champions best practice in carbon markets and climate policy, and its around 150 members include primary producers, carbon project developers, Indigenous organisations, legal, technology and advisory services, insurers, banks, investors, corporate entities and emission intensive industries. The positions put forward constitute CMI’s independent view and do not purport to represent any CMI individual, member company, or industry sector.

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