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Not a breeze

Young people are least confident in Irish government's efforts on environment

New international polling on people’s views about climate change has examined perceptions in Ireland.

YOUNG PEOPLE ARE the age group least confident that the Irish government is taking the necessary actions to protect the environment.

New international polling on people’s views about climate change has examined perceptions in Ireland about the threat of the crisis and the effectiveness of the government’s response.

The new research was conducted as part of an international study led by WIN International, with polling in Ireland carried out by Red C.

Only just over one in three people in Ireland (36%) think that governments are taking necessary measures to protect the environment – slightly less than the global average of 39%.

Young people are the least confident in the Irish government, with only 28% of 18 to 34-year-olds agreeing with the suggestion that governments are doing enough. In comparison, 35% of 35 to 54-year-olds and 44% of those aged 55 and above backed the government’s approach.

The findings are similar to previous polling conducted by Ireland Thinks for The Journal in 2021, when only 33% of people said the government was doing enough on climate.

In total, 29,739 individuals from 36 countries were surveyed on their views and beliefs about climate change. 

In Ireland, 85% of people polled said they believed that rising global temperatures are a threat to humanity.

The level of concern in the United States, in contrast, is well below the global average of 83%, according to the research, at only 70%, placing it at the bottom of the scale. 

Meanwhile, the countries most concerned about the threat of global warming of those included in the poll were Vietnam, Mexico and Thailand, all at 93%.

Respondents were also asked whether or not they agreed with the idea that it is “already too late to curtail climate change”. 

38% of people in Ireland agreed, which represents an increase of 3% compared to 2021 and 11% to 2020, but is on par with the level of that sentiment expressed in 2019.

There was a notable difference in the response between men and women, with 43% of men believing it is too late but only 34% of women.

18 to 34-year-olds felt particularly despondent at 47%.

Overall, the most optimistic country is Kenya at 87%, while the Philippines is the least hopeful at only 23%. The global average was 44%.

CEO of RED C Research and Vice-President of WIN International Association Richard Colwell said it is “clear that most worldwide consider climate change a worry”.

However, he noted, there is “rising concern among Irish adults that it is too late to do anything about it and also strong believe that the government isn’t doing enough”.

“Generally we have seen from other work that people feel acting on climate change has to come from business and government, and the more they feel it’s too late, the less likely they are to change their own individual behaviour,” Colwell said.

“Education is needed to help encourage individuals that they still can make a difference.”

WIN International Association President Vilma Scarpino added that “citizens in every country are becoming more pessimistic on whether there is still time to fight climate change”.

“At the same time, they’re increasingly acknowledging that their governments are not doing much to protect the environment.”

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