Climate change recognised as most pressing environmental issue

1st March 2019
Press Release

While most Irish politicians continue to treat environment and climate issues as of limited importance, new research shows this view is seriously of touch with the mood of the public.

An overwhelming majority of adults (86%) said they believe the environment is a valuable asset to the people of Ireland, while more than one in three Irish adults recognise climate change as the most pressing environmental issue, according to recent research carried out on behalf on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Climate change was recognised by almost two thirds of respondents as being within the top three environmental concerns to tackle, followed by waste, water quality and pollution. Among 18-34 year-olds, almost half cited climate change as ‘the most pressing’ environmental issue.

Launching the report, EPA chief, Laura Burke reiterated the dire state of inaction at a national level on emissions reductions: “EPA projections show that, at best, Ireland will only achieve a 1% reduction by 2020 compared to its 20% EU reduction target.” This, according to An Taisce, is a damning indictment of years of government non-engagement and capitulation to special interest groups.

An Taisce welcomed the research. “Climate change is increasingly being recognised as the defining issue of our time, especially by the younger generation. This is clear with the number of students in Ireland joining the Friday climate strikes”, said climate change spokesperson, John Gibbons. The government will, he added, “need to do a lot more than the gesture politics of keep cups and bird boxes if they want to be taken seriously on this crunch issue”.

The results of the poll come as Ireland’s new overseas development aid policy was launched by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, with climate change cited as one of the issues for particular focus.

The results of the Red C poll demonstrate that Irish people really do recognise the importance of climate change. While increased funding for overseas development is welcome, the government must address climate action at home, as well as overseas”, Gibbons added.

ENDS

For further information, contact:
John Gibbons, An Taisce Climate Change Committee: +353 87 233 2689
Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce. Tel: +353 87 241 1995
email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland

Notes

About An Taisce

An Taisce is a charity that works to preserve and protect Ireland's natural and built heritage. We are an independent charitable voice for the environment and for heritage issues. We are not a government body, semi-state or agency. Founded in 1948, we are one of Ireland’s oldest and largest environmental organisations.