December 13, 2021

EPA study shows the people of Ireland show a strong desire for accelerated climate action

EPA Climate Study

A recent report by EPA suggests that 85% of Irish people are concerned about climate change. In a detailed study of Irish attitudes towards the climate crisis, the findings indicate a strong consensus for accelerated Government action towards climate change.

The report represents the first part of climate change in the Irish Mind project developed by the EPA in collaboration with the Yale University on Climate Change Communication. The project intends to provide a clear understanding of the Irish people and their beliefs, perception of risk, policy preferences and overall behaviours toward climate change. The results from the study will be shared with the upcoming National Dialogue on Climate Action.


The study showed that 90% of people in Ireland believe the nation has a responsibility to take immediate action on climate change and reduce emissions. In contrast, only 9% stated that Ireland represents too small a nation to make a notable impact on climate change and should let other countries take the lead.


A little under 80% of respondents stated that climate change should be a very high priority for the Irish Government. Irish people strongly back new measures that address climate change, and 78% believe climate strategies will improve job prospects, increase economic growth and the overall quality of life.


Laura Burke, the EPA director-general, said the findings represented a vital step in a valued project that will deepen the understanding of Irish people’s perception of the environmental challenge and effectively communicate new strategies to the country. Burke believes the findings demonstrate that the people of Ireland acknowledge the challenge and feel personally impacted by climate change.


The results will assist in upcoming climate change programs, engagement plans and support the national climate action policy. Eamon Ryan, the minister for climate, said the priority of the national dialogue was to work and empower everyone to transition towards a climate-neutral economy in a fair and accessible manner. Ryan believes the people of Ireland understand the necessity for climate action. The research will generate valuable insights while the country continues to explore and deliver new initiatives to support this transition.


Dr Anthony Leiserowitz, the director of the Yale programme, explains that the people of Ireland are definitively in support of the recent climate findings. People are ready to implement active measures on climate action and to take a leading role in responding to the issues of climate change. The survey indicates that people are urging the Government to take action and to create new climate measures. They are also willing to make changes to their behaviours and political choices. These findings suggest that people appreciate the personal responsibility and systematic changes needed to initiate real change.


On climate impacts, nearly 90% of the Irish people believe climate change impacts the weather in Ireland, and 75% believe extreme weather is a high or moderate risk to communities in Ireland over the next decade. People are concerned about local environmental challenges, water and air pollution, severe storms and flooding. 


In terms of social activities, over 90% of people believe climate change is of personal importance and regularly read or listen to climate-related stories in the media every week. 


Large groups of people in Ireland are supportive of spending revenue from carbon taxes on the following measures including:-


-Developing new, clean energy sources

-Funding improvements to transport infrastructure in Ireland

-Supporting energy efficiency improvements in low-income households

-Funding projects to support communities of Ireland in preparing and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

-Supporting employees in the fossil fuel industry with the transition to new jobs