Australian’s View On Climate Change – It’s in our hands


climate change in your hands

As Australians continue to be affected by the bushfire crisis which has swarmed tragedy over various areas of Australia, many people are viewing the fires as a wake-up call about climate change.

The fires are making more people aware of the fact that we as individuals and as a country need to minimise the use of fossil fuels and replace them with clean renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind and water.

In line with this growing awareness, The Australia Institute has conducted a survey as part of its Climate of the Nation tracking poll. The Climate of the Nation has been tracking Australian attitudes towards climate change since 2007.

The most recent survey was conducted from July 2019- January 2020 with additional questions added in January 2020 in reference to the current bushfires. The survey pool was comprised of 1,033 Australians aged 18 years and older.

Key findings of the survey found that;

  • 47% of Australians are now very concerned about climate change
  • 57% of Australians say that we are experiencing a lot of the impacts of climate change
  • 79% of Australians are worried that Australia’s native forests and unique wildlife will never be the same
  • 73% of Australians agree that leadership on the bushfire response requires the Prime Minister to lead on climate change action
  • 72% of Australians agree that this is a wake-up call for the world on the impacts of climate change; and
  • 67% of Australians agree that climate change is making bushfires worse.

The results in comparison to an earlier survey completed in 2019 have shown that the concern amongst Australians about climate change has considerably increased due to the current bushfires.

 Climate Change Concerned Diagram Climate Impact Diagram

Source: Climate of the Nation

In-action towards climate change

Australia Institute research has also shown that Australia is the third-largest exporter of fossil fuels in the world—behind only Russia and Saudi Arabia. Source: Climate of the Nation 2019

In light of this, it is evident that awareness of climate change is not enough, individuals and the government need to be taking actions to change the way we produce energy, and Australians agree!

The Climate of the Nation 2019 research report stated;

  • 70% of Australians support a government plan to ensure the orderly closure of old coal plants and replacement with clean energy and;
  • 68% support a government plan for an orderly phase-out of coal so that workers and communities can prepare.

“Stop building new coal plants by 2020. We need a green economy, not a grey one.” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

Changing your home energy supply to solar

The most effective way you can lower your household emissions is by installing a solar power system and reducing the need for fossil-fuelled electricity. Doing this can assist in the world’s transition to renewable energy and be a positive step in the right direction for climate change.

As well as making a positive impact on the environment, those with residential solar systems are rewarded with reduced electricity bills due to having less reliance on the grid. The federal government also provides solar rebates to assist with the upfront cost of purchasing a solar power system in hopes of encouraging more households to move towards renewable energy.

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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.

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