Three times as many people think the impact of climate action will be “mostly positive” as think it will be “mostly negative”, according to opinion polling carried out by Ireland Thinks and published by Friends of the Earth.
The overall findings suggest that the “urban-rural divide on climate change is overplayed”, according to Friends of the Earth.
80% of the public “back the government’s plan to cut climate-changing pollution in half by 2030”.
Nine out of every 10 voters for both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael “support the target, and two-thirds of them think it will be mostly positive”.
Climate action ‘should be a priority’
The results come as the government considers this week’s carbon budget proposals from the Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC) and puts the finishing touches to the Climate Action Plan to achieve the 2030 target, due to be published next week.
Commenting on the polling results, Oisín Coghlan, director of Friends of the Earth, said:
“These results should give backbench government TDs and indeed, all politicians, the confidence to support the action we so desperately need to avoid climate breakdown.
“TDs tend to hear most from vocal vested interests worried about the impact of particular actions on their industry in the short-term.
“What these results show is that, rather like in polling on Covid-19, solid majorities of the public at large think government action on climate should be a priority, think if anything the government should do more, and think the overall impact of action to reduce emissions will be positive.
“It is particularly reassuring that solid majorities of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil voters support the 2030 target, support prioritising climate action and think overall it will be positive.”
Majority of voters for all the main political parties also think climate action should be a government priority in the economic recovery from Covid-19, the poll found.
87% of people think corporations should pay a carbon tax, while 57% think each sector should reduce its pollution by the same amount or just a bit more or less than other sectors.
While support for climate action is strongest in Dublin, among young people and among women, regional differences are less than might be expected, according to Friends of the Earth.
79% of people in Munster and 72% of people in Connacht-Ulster support the 2030 target, compared to 80% nationally.
58% of people in Munster and 62% of people in Connacht-Ulster think climate action should be a government priority in the recovery from Covid-19, compared to 61% nationally.
58% of people in Munster and 56% of people in Connacht-Ulster think the impact of climate action will be “mostly positive”, compared to 60% nationally.
These findings suggest that the “urban-rural divide on climate change is overplayed in political and media debates”, Friends of the Earth said.