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Updated Mar 2, 2022

Climate change most pressing environmental issue facing Ireland

A survey carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency has shown that for the fourth year running, climate change is perceived as the most pressing environmental issue facing Ireland.

The survey which was undertaken as part of the EPA's Year in Review, gauges public attitudes towards the environment.

86% of respondents agreed that the environment is a valuable asset, and 4 in 5 stated that it was important to them to have a clean, unpolluted environment and access to nature.

In 2021, the EPA published research focusing on how global climate changes are reflected in Ireland's atmosphere, oceans and landscape. During this they found only a small reduction in Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions due to Covid-19 restrictions. So these findings highlight the scale of action required to reach the 51% emissions reduction target by 2030.

As part of this the EPA conducted their first report for the Climate Change in the Irish Mind project, which found the public had very high levels of awareness, are informed and understand the implications of a changing climate. Not only this but they see the benefits and opportunities that exist for jobs, innovation and wellbeing in taking climate action.

Laura Burke, Director General of the EPA commented:

"One lesson from the past two years is that well-communicated science can successfully inform policy, perception, and behaviour, even when the challenges are daunting. There is the opportunity now to build the foundation for a green recovery to protect and restore Ireland's environment. The EPA supports actions at every level – government, business, and individual – to be informed by science, which is targeted and focussed on changing our current unsustainable consumption and production patterns."

"Throughout the pandemic the essential work of the EPA continued to ensure that the protection of human health and the environment was not diminished. As an environmental regulator we adapted to circumstances, responding to complaints, incidents and emergencies, carrying out site inspections and engaging with licensees in a risk-based and proportionate manner."