Irish folks “overwhelmingly recognise” the threat posed by the climate crisisAccording to new research from the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), people want to see real change.
The environment watchdog teamed up with Yale University for the project probing ‘Climate Change in the Irish Mind’.
It aimed to provide a better understanding of the population’s beliefs, risk perceptions, policy preferences and behaviours around global warming.
In a nutshell
This is the first research of its kind climate change is personally important to nine in 10 Irish people while almost the same number are worried about it and around half think people in Ireland are being harmed by it “right now”.
A staggering 90% of respondents also felt that the country has a responsibility for reducing its carbon footprint. greenhouse gases.
Four in five also believe it should be either a “very high” or “high” priority for the government.
It also revealed that scientists are the most trusted source for information on the issue, closely followed by the EPA.
Speaking about the report Laura Burke, Director General EPA, said: “The findings of the survey clearly demonstrate that the Irish people overwhelmingly recognise the threat, feel personally affected and want to see real change.
“It demonstrates that – as a country – we are ready for the transition to climate neutrality and resilience, people see the benefits to themselves and Ireland in general and many are already advanced on the journey.”
The report’s findings will be used to support climate change campaigns and awareness as well as influence national policy and climate action.
Research also revealed that most people are aware of climate risks and see the opportunities available for jobs, innovation, and quality of living if the country takes climate action.
Six in ten people believe it will help the economy, and 78% say it will increase wellbeing.
Most respondents said they supported spending carbon tax revenue on climate change mitigation and preparation.
Many would like to see grants for cleaner, more efficient heating in all buildings, increased investment into public transport like trains and buses, as well as subsidies to make electric cars more affordable.
A third of respondents supported banning oil, coal, and peat for home heat, and higher taxes on petrol- and diesel cars.
Environment, Climate and Communications Minister, Eamon Ryan, said: “This research shows that Irish people are well informed and understand and support the need for climate action.
“The research programme will provide valuable insights as we develop policies and initiatives that will support people as we make this transition together.”
Concerning personal behaviours, approximately half of people said they plan to increase their consumer activism over the next year. However, only one third of respondents said that they have stopped eating meat for environmental reasons in recent years.
Dr Anthony Leiserowitz, Director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, added: “The Irish people overwhelmingly accept the findings of climate science and strongly support a whole-of-society response.
“They are ready for a national dialogue on climate action and primed to lead the world by their example.”
These findings are based on the participation of over 4,000 Irish citizens aged 18 and over.