90% of people say Ireland has a responsibility to act on climate change

90% of people say Ireland has a responsibility to act on climate change

The report found that while people want to see climate policies enacted, mainly through Government actions, they were less inclined to change their political and consumption behaviours. Picture: John Giles/PA Wire

The Irish population almost unanimously accepts climate change is happening and has indicated it will embrace a range of policies to mitigate against it.

That was just one of the findings from a major analysis from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its academic partner, the Yale University Program on Climate Change Communication, looking at how the climate crisis has affected the collective Irish psyche.

More than 4,000 engaged in the analysis on a diverse range of topics, with 98% saying climate change is real, and 85% saying it was worrying to them personally.

EPA-Climate images
EPA-Climate images

The EPA's senior manager of climate services, Dr Margaret Desmond, said the findings showed Irish people strongly supported climate mitigation policies, and overwhelmingly believe such policies will increase jobs, economic growth and quality of life.

"This is a very compelling set of findings ... we see overall that there is very high levels of acceptance amongst the population that climate change is happening, with associated concern about its impacts. People are worried about climate change.

"96% of the population agree that climate change is happening in Ireland, and by contrast only 2% say it is not happening... 88% think that climate change is affecting the weather in Ireland, and 5% say it is not; 85% are worried about climate change, including 37% who describe themselves as very worried," she said.

Scientists, experts, and the EPA are highly trusted by the public when it comes to climate change information, but politicians and religious leaders are lacking the same levels of confidence, she added.

EPA-Climate images
EPA-Climate images

The EPA said the study, the first of its kind to be undertaken in Ireland using Yale’s approach, "will be used to support climate change awareness and engagement campaigns, the design of national policy, and climate action".

Director general of the EPA, Laura Burke, said the findings were "definitive".

"This is an important first step in a very valuable project that will help to understand how Irish people perceive the environmental challenge, and that can fundamentally change how we all communicate on the topic. 

The findings of the survey clearly demonstrate that the Irish people overwhelmingly recognise the threat, feel personally affected and want to see real change."

The country is ready for the transition to climate neutrality and resilience, she added.

"People see the benefits to themselves and Ireland in general and many are already advanced on the journey.”

EPA-Climate images
EPA-Climate images

However, the report found that while people want to see climate policies enacted, mainly through Government actions, they were less inclined to change their political and consumption behaviours.

While Government grants were strongly approved for retrofitting homes as well as buying electric vehicles, less than a third strongly agreed on extra taxes around fossil fuel-powered cars, while a third strongly favoured banning peat, coal, and oil for home heating. 

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub


Text header

From florist to fraudster, leaving a trail of destruction from North Cork, to Waterford, to Clare, to Wexford and through the midlands ... learn how mistress of re-invention, Catherine O'Brien, scammed her way around rural Ireland.

War_map
Execution Time: 0.227 s