Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of the twenty-first century and consumers are increasingly becoming conscious of their decisions and its impact on the environment. In this report, we examine the Irish consumer’s awareness of climate change and how they view the main actors involved. This research was gathered from 1,265 respondents aged 18 to 55-year-olds in the Republic of Ireland.
Over 85% of our panel rate climate change as either “very important” or “quite important”, with less than 1.58% of respondents saying the issue is not important at all. Among social groups, 40% of respondents say climate change is “important” amongst you and their friends, though 30% say it is neutral. Despite how many believe climate change is very important, 39.53% of the respondents neither agree nor disagree with the statement “there are more important problems in the world than climate change”, indicating that most respondents are rather indecisive about the problems to prioritise in today’s world.
We asked respondents to state their level of agreement with a number of statements regarding climate change. On the statement “it poses a serious threat for people around the world”, nearly half or 48.77% of respondents strongly agree with the statement. Interestingly, more people (4.35%) strongly disagreed with the statement compared to 2.13% of people who only disagree. Most respondents believe that the impact of climate change is understated by the media, with 44.98% of respondents agreeing with the statement “Problems and its impact are underestimated in the news”.
The majority of respondents believe that they have a good understanding of the global environmental issues caused by climate change, with 59.76% of respondents answering “how well do you feel that you understand global environmental issues?” with “quite well”. However, a quarter of respondents described their understanding as “not very well”. This correlates with how aware respondents are with global policies and initiatives taken to reduce climate change. Only 38.02% weren’t aware of global policies. There is a slight increase in the number of people unaware of Irish environmental policies to tackle climate change, with 42.37% of our panel making up that cohort.
The vast majority of respondents believe climate change is man-made, with 43.24% of respondents strongly agree with the statement “It is caused by human activities” with another 43.64% agreeing with it. Most respondents believe that it is a country’s government’s responsibility to tackle climate change, with 34.31% of respondents saying they shoulder the main responsibility. Approximately 1 in 5 respondents (20.47%) believe the main responsibility is on individuals and a slightly lower portion (19.37%) believe it is on business & industries. Only 3.72% of respondents believe that environmental organisations / charities have the main responsibility in fighting climate change. Interestingly, environmental organisations have the highest level of approval out of all the listed entities, with 44% believing they are doing enough to fight climate change. As for a country’s government, 53% of respondents believe they are not doing enough. 44.58% of respondents are neutral about the Irish government’s performance in regards to climate change. Only 2.69% rate their performance as “very good”.
Over half (55.18%) believe individuals can do enough to reduce the impact of climate change globally and 79.13% (or 4 out of 5 respondents) take some form of action to fight the impact of climate change personally. Out of the people who do take some form of actions to fight climate change, two thirds try to reduce their carbon footprint through their grocery shopping. A quarter of respondents strongly agree with reducing their energy usage to tackle climate change, while over half of respondents (53.91%) agree with the statement “I am ready to reduce my energy usage to tackle climate change”.