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Poll finds overwhelming public support for plan to halve climate pollution

28 Oct 2021

Three times as many people think the impact of climate action will be "mostly positive" as think it will be "mostly negative"

80% of the public back the Government's plan to cut climate-changing pollution in half by 2030, and 60% think that the overall impact of climate action will be positive, according to opinion polling carried out by Ireland Thinks and published today by Friends of the Earth. Nine out of every 10 voters for both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael support the target, and two thirds of them think climate action will be mostly positive. Overall, more than three times as many people think the impact of climate action will be “mostly positive” as think it will be “mostly negative”. The results come as the Government considers this week's Carbon Budget proposals from the Climate Advisory Council and puts the finishing touches to the Action Plan to achieve the 2030 target, due to be published next week.

Commenting on the polling results, Oisín Coghlan, Director of Friends of the Earth, said:

"These results should give backbench Government TDs, and indeed all politicians, the confidence to support the action we so desperately need to avoid climate breakdown.

"TDs tend to hear most from vocal vested interests worried about the impact of particular actions on their industry in the short term. Such concerns are also well represented in media coverage and debate.

"What these results show is that, rather like in polling on Covid 19, solid majorities of the public at large think government action on climate should be a priority, think if anything the Government should do more, and think the overall impact of action to reduce emissions will be positive.

"It is particularly reassuring that solid majorities of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil voters support the 2030 target, support prioritising climate action and think overall it will be positive."

Headline poll results

  • There is overwhelming public support (80%) for Ireland cutting our climate-changing pollution by at least 51% by 2030, with 50% of people actually saying we should do more than that. Support for the target is strong among voters across all the main political parties.

  • Majorities of voters for all the main political parties also think climate action should be a Government priority in the economic recovery from Covid 19. The overall figure of 61% compares with 63% when we last polled this question in summer 2020.

  • More than three times as many people think the impact of climate action will be “mostly positive” as think it will be “mostly negative” (61% to 19%).

  • 87% of people think corporations should pay a carbon tax.

  • A majority of people (57%) think each sector should reduce its pollution by the same amount or just a bit more or less than other sectors. 

While support for climate action is strongest in Dublin, among young people, and among women, regional differences are less than might be expected. 79% of people in Munster and 72% of people in Connacht-Ulster support the 2030 target, compared to 80% nationally. 58% of people in Munster and 62% of people in Connacht-Ulster think climate action should be a Government priority in the recovery from Covid 19, compared to 61% nationally. Crucially, 58% of people in Munster and 56% of people in Connacht-Ulster think the impact of climate action will be "mostly positive", compared to 60% nationally. These findings suggest that the "urban-rural divide" on climate change is overplayed in political and media debates.

The full results of the poll can be downloaded here

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