Irish people are more concerned about local environmental issues than global

Majority of people living in rural Ireland say they would not park their cars if there was a 10% hike on petrol or diesel because the public transport options available are not good enough, study finds from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) found.

Almost 70 percent of rural household respondents indicated that they would continue to use their vehicles to the same extent if the price of fuel rose sharply because they had no alternative.

A smaller proportion of households (31%) said they would not make energy efficient improvements to their home even if taxes on home heating fuels increased by 10% due to the upfront costs of the renovation.

The OSC surveyed households on environmental issues ahead of the UN Cop26 climate summit, which is taking place in Glasgow. Some 25,000 households in each county participated in the study, with the sample comprising a representative mix of responses from owner-occupied, private and locally rented dwellings.

The results show that 69 percent of those polled see climate change as a very important environmental concern. It was the first time that this question had been asked by the CSO.

However, more households felt that water pollution (79%), plastic waste (74%) and air pollution (72%) were more important problems for them.

Traffic restrictions

Only 29% of Irish households would support traffic restrictions such as congestion charges and low emission zones in polluted areas.

Almost two-thirds of the households surveyed (62%) believe that biodiversity concerns should be taken into account when planning new infrastructure.

CSO statistician Claire O’Hara said the survey found that people are more interested in environmental issues when they concern their localities than in global issues.

“People are concerned about all of these environmental issues. The immediate local problems of air and water pollution seem to be of even greater concern to people than the global problem of climate change, ”she said.

“A significant proportion of people feel that they cannot afford or have no alternative when taxes are increased on heating or transport. ”

Emissions have decreased

The latest figures from the CSO show that greenhouse gas emissions declined in most sectors from 2018 to 2019.

Resident units’ greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 3% to 76.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent from 2018 to 2019.

Territorial greenhouse gas emissions (emissions produced exclusively within the state) decreased by 4% to 59.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent from 2018 to 2019.

Greenhouse gas emissions from industry decreased by 7% in 2019, but increased by 2% in the service sector, which includes road and air transport.

The service sector produced 31% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, with the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector producing 28% and the industrial sector accounting for 24% of the total. The remaining 17% of greenhouse gas emissions were emitted by households.

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