September 13th, 2019
Up to 95 per cent of the Irish population now view climate change as a serious problem, a new European poll has revealed.
According to the bloc’s latest Eurobarometer series, over a quarter (26 per cent) also believe climate change to be the single most serious problem facing the world at the moment.
The report provides detailed information on trends across the EU, with the high degree of support for climate action is reflected across EU states.
Almost half of Irish respondents believe the Government is the main actor responsible for tackling climate change.
In addition, 95 per cent of Irish respondents agreed that the Government should set ambitious targets to increase the amount of renewable energy and 93 per cent supported more energy efficiency measures.
Almost 90 per cent agreed that more public financial support should be given to the transition to clean energies even if it means subsidies to fossil fuels should be.
Climate change is increasingly seen by EU citizens as a serious challenge. It has overtaken international terrorism as the second most serious problem identified by citizens after poverty, hunger, and lack of drinking water.
The release of the survey results comes just one week before young people around the world are expected to walk out of their classrooms and take to the streets to voice their demands for immediate climate action.
In Ireland, climate strikes and rallies will take place next Friday at numerous locations across the country including in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Tralee, and Dundalk.
Another European survey released in May saw a spike in the number of Irish people who view man-made disasters as a threat to biodiversity.
The survey follows on from a previous survey conducted in 2015 in order to gauge any changes in citizens’ awareness of biodiversity and the biggest threats facing it.
According to survey respondents, the EU’s biodiversity priorities should include the restoration of nature and better public awareness-raising campaigns about the importance of biodiversity.
The biggest perceived threats to biodiversity mentioned by EU citizens are air, soil and water pollution, man-made disasters and climate change.
Ireland also saw one of the largest increases – up by six percentage points to 76 per cent – in the proportion of respondents who “totally agree” with the statement that “we have a responsibility to look after nature”.
‘Unprecedented’ rate of extinction
The survey results were released just hours prior to the launch of a landmark global assessment has found that one million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction and declining at rates unprecedented in human history.
The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) assessment warns that the accelerating rate of species extinction presents “grave impacts” for people across the world.
According to the report, more than 40 per cent of amphibian species, over 30 per cent of reef forming corals and over a third of all marine mammals are under threat.
In addition, 75 per cent of the land-based environment and two-thirds of the marine environment have been significantly altered by human action.