Majority of 16-24-year-olds want internal flight bans and car-free zones in towns and cities, report finds

ESRI finds that many do not know what are the best behaviours to mitigate global warming

The under-24s are greatly in favour of banning non-essential internal flights and for car-free zones in towns and cities, a new survey has concluded.

The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) found that more than 90 per cent of Irish people between the age of 16 and 24 are concerned about the environment.

Measures that people aged 16-25 would support to tackle climate change

Some 78 per cent of those surveyed are in favour of fining businesses that exceed emission standards, and mandating renewable energy even if it is more expensive (65 per cent).

A majority of those questioned are in favour of banning non-essential domestic flights (57 per cent) and implementing car-free zones in towns and city centres (57 per cent too).


Almost half (48 per cent) of those who currently eat meat intend to eat less in the short-term future, with almost 30 per cent planning to eat a plant-based diet in the long-term.

Just one in three (34 per cent) recognise eating a plant-based diet as a high impact behaviour, and less than 10 per cent do not eat meat. The women surveyed are 2.5 times more likely to not eat meat than men.

A large proportion are in favour of green taxes on meat (43 per cent) and energy inefficient homes (47 per cent), although there is less support for annual flight limits (29 per cent) and higher fuel taxes (33 per cent).

More than half (55 per cent) intend to limit the number of flights they take in the future. One-in-three (30 per cent) intend to avoid flying where possible.

However, the ESRI online survey shows the respondents’ understanding of the impact of certain types of behaviour on climate change is “poor”.

They underestimate the impact of behaviours which can help mitigate climate change, especially eating a plant-based diet, and overestimate low-impact behaviours such as recycling and not littering. Their understanding of pro-environmental behaviour is no greater than older adults.

Lead author of the report Ylva Andersson said the overall results show young people in Ireland are concerned about climate change and are highly motivated to act. “But they will need resources and leadership to act on these motivations given the complexity of the issues and young people’s limited understanding of how they can best help reduce emissions.”

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times