Majority believe Government must prioritise action on climate change

Majority believe Government must prioritise action on climate change

Almost three-quarters of the population believes the next Government must act on climate change or they will fail the Irish people, while nine out of 10 trust science and research around climate action.

These are some of the findings of a poll of more than 1,000 people by the environmental and sustainability campaign group, Friends of the Earth Ireland, which describes the survey findings as "stunning".

Some nine in 10 people believe that climate change policies should be guided by science and expert advice, as was the case with Covid-19, while there is near-universal support for government initiatives to support jobs by encouraging home improvements for energy efficiency, the findings concluded.

Out of every four citizens in Ireland, three believe that investment in transport should favour safe walking, cycling and public transport ahead of private cars. It hits 80% in Dublin, but is still 72% outside cities and suburbs, the survey found.

Even with very difficult economic times ahead, almost two-thirds of adults in Ireland believe that it remains important that the Government prioritises action on climate change.

Two-thirds of people living outside cities and suburbs believe emissions from agriculture need to be reduced by supporting a move to more sustainable farming, while nationally it is three-quarters, according to the results.

Director of Friends of the Earth, Oisín Coghlan, said: "The scale of public support for serious climate action in this poll is stunning. We hope the results will give all three parties negotiating a Programme for Government the confidence to put faster and fairer climate action at the heart of everything a new Government does."

The country cannot afford to waste another five years dabbling at the edges of climate action, Mr Coghlan said. 

"This poll shows that across all parts of Irish society, regardless of age, gender, class or urban/rural, there is a large majority in favour of stronger action to reduce pollution from transport, buildings and farming. Most striking is the finding that 90% of people believe the Government should be guided by science and expert advice when making climate policy.

"The science and expert advice couldn't be clearer — if we're at all serious about achieving the goal of the Paris Agreement then Ireland needs to cut its emissions by at least 7.6% a year for the next decade."

The poll was carried out by Opinions Market Research over seven days up to Monday, May 18, on a nationally representative quota sample of 1,021 people.

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