The news is out and the message is clear…Australians want Rudd to do more on the biggest issue facing our planet, and ratifying the Kyoto Protocol is not going to appease them.

Commissioned by Greenpeace a poll of 1202 adults showed that Australians want our new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to take the next steps in the fight against climate change by cutting Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and phasing out electricity generation from coal-fired power stations in the next three years.

The poll revealed that 86% of Australians support Mr Rudd introducing new policies that will ensure Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions begin to decrease within the next three years. 77% said the government should begin phasing out existing coal-fired power stations and replacing them with renewable energy generation by 2010. When asked about Australia’s export coal industry, 73% of Australians said coal exports should be capped or reduced.

It’s clear Aussies understand the link between burning coal and climate change. They want to see our Government start weaning us off our addiction to coal, replacing coal-fired power with renewables.

Existing ALP climate policies will see Australia’s total emissions increase to 15% over 1990 levels by 2020(2). Yet the UNFCCC has stated that to keep global warming from topping the danger threshold of a 2 degree C increase, it is necessary for developed countries as a group to achieve emissions reductions of 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020.

This week Mr Rudd has the opportunity to show leadership at the Bali climate talks and help gain consensus on the 25-40% range of reductions. This poll shows that such a move would be extremely popular with the people of Australia, who delivered Mr Rudd a firm mandate at the last election, and want him to take even stronger action by reducing Australia’s emissions within his first term.