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People see climate change as personal risk

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As many Australians feel personally threatened by climate change as by terrorism or car accidents.

And seven-in-10 think Prime Minister Scott Morrison shouldn't have skipped the special United Nations climate change summit during his US visit last week.

The latest Essential Report poll asked 1097 people what their biggest concern was for their personal safety.

One-in-five nominated the effects of climate change, with 21 per cent each saying terrorism and car accidents were the top risk, the poll released on Wednesday showed.

Just two years ago, a third of people nominated terrorism as the thing they were most worried about and only seven per cent were concerned about the personal risks climate change.

The pollsters also asked if Mr Morrison should have attended the UN climate summit in New York alongside other world leaders last week.

He instead gave a foreign policy speech in Chicago, arriving in New York in the late afternoon after the climate events were over.

Even when the results were broken down by political leaning, a majority thought he shouldn't have skipped the summit, with almost two-thirds of coalition supporters saying Mr Morrison should have been there.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said even when he was a shadow environment minister in the Howard era he went to two UN conferences.

"It's very disappointing that Scott Morrison didn't bother to turn up to the climate summit even though he was down the road from New York," he told ABC radio.

"Those decisions are a part of the global debate and we need to participate in that."

© AAP 2019