New insights from a climate change survey have revealed that a percentage of Irish people support reducing the size of the national cattle herd to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released two new insight reports from its Climate Change in the Irish Mind study, which indicates that people in Ireland are in favor of climate change policies. The study examined Irish people’s beliefs, attitudes, policy preferences, and behaviors regarding climate change.
According to the EPA, the research results show that 92% of the surveyed individuals support increasing forest areas to offset GHG emissions from agriculture. However, a slightly lower percentage of 64% supports reducing the size of the national cattle herd for the same purpose. The study involved a representative survey of 4,000 residents of the Republic of Ireland aged eighteen and older, conducted from May 24 to July 29, 2021.
The EPA’s two new insight reports, titled Climate Change in the Irish Mind – Support for Climate Policies and Climate Change in the Irish Mind – Climate Risk Perceptions, provide a detailed analysis of some of the findings from the study and survey. The agency highlights that a significant majority of Irish people who participated in the survey, accounting for 79%, believe that climate change should be a “very high” or “high” priority for the government. Moreover, over four in ten people in Ireland believe that individuals are currently being harmed by climate change.
The overall findings of the survey suggest that while many people believe they will be affected by climate change, they also believe that others will be affected to a greater extent. Additionally, the survey results reveal that most people support the allocation of carbon tax revenues to programs aimed at reducing carbon emissions and preparing for the impacts of climate change. The research also indicates support for banning peat, coal, and oil for home heating purposes.
However, the EPA study also highlights national opposition to specific climate policy proposals, including reducing the size of the national cattle herd. Dr. Eimear Cotter, director of the EPA’s office of evidence and assessment, emphasizes that those who oppose climate policies are not climate deniers, and their opposition does not stem from underlying concerns or suspicions about climate change. Instead, it appears to be related to localized concerns and issues that need to be addressed in order to implement major climate change policies.
Nevertheless, Dr. Cotter acknowledges that the results of the EPA study indicate a disconnection from the impacts of climate change. She points out that people perceive climate change as a threat that will harm others in the future, animals and plants, other individuals, and finally themselves. This highlights the importance of conveying the immediacy of the climate change threat and the fact that each person is already being affected by it. Without immediate action, the impacts will only worsen in the future.