Attitudes to Climate
Australians have an intimate relationship with climate. In the most arid settled continent in the world, the environment, including climate, has been central to forging national identity. Australians now have a new challenge—human-induced climate change. Australia is already seeing its impact in the form of prolonged fire seasons and more intense high-rainfall events. This chapter looks at attitudes to climate. It shows that while Australians are concerned about political inaction on the environment, there is still confusion about the cause of human-induced climate change. It introduces the concept of climate optimism as it is linked to the cycles of the El Niño Southern Oscillation, or ENSO, as well as the longer cycles of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation, or IPO. It relates climate optimism to a lack of political will in twenty-first-century Australia to combat human-induced climate change.