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Less support for climate actions which affect spending


Although Irish people have become increasingly worried about severe storms and extreme heat, they have become less supportive of climate actions that affect their spending choices, a new survey has found.

According to a national survey by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), these choices include higher taxes on motor fuels petrol and the banning of fossil fuels for home heating.

The survey also found that only 5% of people could distinguish the greenhouse gas effect from other environmental topics such as acid rain or the ozone layer.

This is the second time the Environmental Protection Agency has published such a detailed survey about what Irish people think about climate change.

They found 95% of people are aware of climate change, while 89% say it is important to them personally.

78% discuss it with their family and friends often or occasionally, and 79% say that it should be a very high or a high priority for Government.

The proportion of people worried about severe storms has risen from 64 to 74% over the past two years.

The survey found that 54% worry about extreme heat, that is up from 45%.

Yet support for higher taxes and bans on fossil fuels has fallen significantly.

41% say that they are now opposed to increased taxes on petrol and diesel, while half the people surveyed are against banning peat, coal, and oil for home heating.

The survey also found that four out of every ten people think, incorrectly, that climate change is caused equally by humans and by nature.

And while 96% of people say they have heard of the “greenhouse gas effect”, only one out of every 20 were able to distinguish between that effect and other environmental topics such as acid rain or the ozone layer.


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EPA Director General, Laura Burke, said: “Despite the many challenges, including cost of living increases, people remain positive about the benefits of climate action for our economy and quality of life.

“There continues to be majority support for a range of climate policies. In particular, we see overwhelming support for improved public transport and renewable energy, which can deliver significant emissions reductions, air quality improvements as well as delivering cost savings for individuals.”

Minister for Environment Eamon Ryan says that the survey shows the importance of ongoing communications.

“This survey also shows us that climate is not an issue that divides people as much as it unites us,” he said.

“It also underlines the importance of ongoing engagement and communications.

“As a Government, we must listen and act so that we are supporting people to take climate action that works for their community – from the ground up. Climate action won’t work if it’s a top down, blame or shame approach.

“Our transition to a new way of doing things must be fair, it must involve everyone, and it must ensure that things will be better.”

The survey, called “Climate Change in the Irish Mind”, was undertaken by the EPA and the Yale University Program on Climate Change Communication in support of the National Dialogue on Climate Action.


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