The latest findings from the European Investment Bank’s Climate Survey reveal that Irish people are optimistic about the green transition, as new policies tackle climate change.
The majority of Irish people expect better quality of life and net job creation from the green transition, according to the latest release of the 2021-2022 Climate Survey published by the European Investment Bank (EIB), the lending arm of the European Union and the world’s largest multilateral lender for climate action projects.
The findings from Ireland include:
• 63% think climate policies will improve their quality of life;
• 59% believe policies to tackle climate change will create more jobs than they eliminate;
• 53% say that the green transition will be a source of economic growth;
• 21% expect to have to move to another region or country in the future because of climate change — this figure increases to 39% among people aged 20-29;
• 20% fear they could lose their job because it will become incompatible with the need to mitigate climate change — this figure is 31% among 20- 29 year-olds.
Are policies to tackle climate change good news for the economy? A small majority of Irish people would agree: 53% say the green transition will be a source of economic growth (in line with the EU average of 56%).
63% of Irish respondents also believe that their quality of life will improve, with greater convenience in their everyday lives and a positive impact on the quality of their food and their health. Policies that address the climate emergency are also seen as good news for the job market: 59% of Irish people believe these will have a net positive impact on employment levels within the country, creating more jobs than they eliminate. However, nearly three-quarters (72%) anticipate that their purchasing power will decrease with the green transition.
According to Irish respondents, the challenges related to climate change are here to stay. While one-third (34%) of them believe that the climate emergency will be under control by 2050, 64% feel that it will still be a serious issue by mid-century.
Irish respondents say they see climate change threatening their place of residence. When asked about the longer-term impact of the climate crisis, one-fifth of them (21%) expect to have to move to another region or country because of climate change. This concern nearly doubles among people in their 20s, with 39% of them saying they are worried about the possibility of needing to move due to climate issues. Irish people, especially the younger generation, are also concerned about the sustainability of their jobs: almost onethird of respondents aged 20-29 (31%) fear they could lose their job because it will become incompatible with the fight against climate change (11 points above the national average of 20%).
Long-term lifestyle changes
Irish people are conscious of the behavioural shifts that are needed to tackle climate change. According to them, individual lifestyle changes that reduce carbon emissions will gain significant traction in the next 20 years. 66% say they think that most people will be working from home to contribute to the fight against climate change, while onethird (35%) think most people will have adopted a plant-based diet and nearly half (48%) predict that an energy quota will be allocated to each individual.
“Irish people see clear opportunities in the green transition for their quality of life, as well as for the job market in general,” noted EIB Vice-President Christian Kettel Thomsen. “However, they are also concerned, notably the younger generation, about the long-term impact of climate change on where they live and on the sustainability of their jobs. As the EU climate bank, it is our responsibility to listen to these concerns and work with policymakers and industry partners to address them. In doing so, we can help power the transition to a greener and prosperous future that leaves no one behind.”