Over 80% of voters oppose higher fuel tax to tackle climate change – poll

Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll suggests major political obstacles for Government in meeting climate obligations

Voters are opposed to many potential climate action measures which would impact them personally, the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll has found.

The findings of the poll suggest significant political obstacles will face the Government as it seeks to introduce measures to achieve the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions now required by climate legislation.

Voters were asked about a series of potential, planned or suggested climate action measures. Their responses showed significant opposition to many of the measures, while opinion was split on others.

Asked about “higher taxes on energy and fuel, eg electricity, gas, petrol, diesel”, just 14 per cent of respondents said they would support this, with 82 per cent opposed.


Asked if they would support “making it more expensive to buy petrol and diesel cars”, less than a quarter (23 per cent) said they would support it, while 72 per cent were opposed.

On “higher property taxes for homes that are not energy efficient”, 23 per cent were in support, while 69 per cent were opposed.

A strong majority (60 per cent) also oppose reducing the size of the national herd, with 25 per cent in favour.

Just over half of respondents (53 per cent) are against higher taxes on air travel, but 40 per cent support the idea. Voters are split on a ban on building new data centres with 38 per cent in favour and 46 per cent opposing it.

They are also split on a ban on “burning smoky fuels like coal and peat”, with 45 per cent in favour and 49 per cent opposed.

However, there is strong support for “allowing more land to be used for wind energy/turbines”, with 68 per cent in favour and 24 per cent opposed.

Asked about next week’s budget, 44 per cent of respondents said the Government should maintain existing levels of spending. Over a quarter of voters (27 per cent) favour increased spending, while 20 per cent support reducing spending.

Asked to choose between reducing taxes and increasing spending, a majority of voters preferred tax cuts (52 per cent).

The poll also finds that a strong majority of people (68 per cent) approved of President Michael D Higgins's refusal to attend a religious event in Armagh to mark the centenary of partition and the creation of Northern Ireland.

The poll was conducted among 1,200 adults at 120 sampling points across all constituencies on October 2nd, 4th and 5th. The accuracy is estimated at plus or minus 2.8 per cent.

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times