Climate-change poll: Results reveal majority grasp gravity of crisis

Data suggests people willing to make sacrifices to tackle unfolding environmental disaster

A nationally representative sample of 1,200 adults were asked whether they agree or disagree with five statements about climate change.

A nationally representative sample of 1,200 adults were asked whether they agree or disagree with five statements about climate change.

 

Today’s Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll results show that the majority of Irish adults (55 per cent) agree that “climate change is the most serious issue facing the world” and that just over one-third (36 per cent) disagree.

Fieldwork for today’s Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll took place between Friday and Sunday of last week, after days of climate-change protests in Dublin city centre and across the world.

A nationally representative sample of 1,200 adults were asked whether they agree or disagree with five statements about climate change. Two statements related to how seriously or not people consider the issue to be and three statements related to people’s willingness to make sacrifices to tackle the issue.

Our poll findings show that agreement with the statement, “climate change is the most serious issue facing the world” is highest among 18- to 24-year-olds and the AB socio-economic grouping at 65 per cent and those living in Dublin at 64 per cent.

A similar pattern is evident throughout the poll results, with these demographic groups claiming to take the climate-change issue seriously and to be willing to make sacrifices to tackle it.

Farmers are least likely to agree with the statement at 38 per cent, a level considerably below that recorded for any other demographic grouping.

To provide some contrast, our poll measured agreement and disagreement with the statement, “I don’t think climate change will be as bad as some people say so I’m not that worried about it.” One-third of Irish adults agreed with this statement, with agreement highest among farmers at 50 per cent.

Interestingly, 21 per cent of those who agree that “climate change is the most serious issue facing the world” also agree with the statement, “I don’t think climate change will be as bad as some people say so I’m not that worried about it”.

This is not necessarily a contradiction; one could perhaps reasonably believe climate change is the most serious issue facing the world and also believe it won’t be as bad as predicted. If anything, this result serves as reminder of the nuances of the climate-change debate.

Positively, the data suggests that people are willing to make sacrifices to tackle climate change, the majority (54 per cent) agree with the statement, “I am okay with reducing my standard of living in order to help tackle climate change”. However, a not insignificant 36 per cent of the population disagree.

Agreement with this statement is highest among the AB socio-economic grouping at 70 per cent, with disagreement highest among farmers at 53 per cent.

Devil in the demographics

A much closer result emerges when it comes to the statement, “I am okay with the price of oil, gas, petrol and diesel increasing to help tackle climate change”, 44 per cent agree with this statement and 48 per cent disagree.

Again, agreement is highest among the AB Socio-economic grouping at 58 per cent. Disagreement is highest among the DE socio-economic grouping at 60 per cent.

The majority (56 per cent) disagree with the statement, “the Government should spend more money on tackling climate change and less money on public services”; just over one in four agree (26 per cent).

Agreement was highest among 18- to 24-year-olds at 34 per cent and Dublin at 33 per cent. Farmers at 83 per cent and those in rural areas (61 per cent) and those aged 65 or over (also 61 per cent) were most likely to disagree.

While the seriousness of climate change is widely acknowledged, there appears to be some way to go before all of the sacrifices that may be required to tackle it are widely accepted.

  • Aisling Corcoran, Director Ipsos MRBI
The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.