Most NI people ‘prepared to alter lifestyle’ to avert climate change

A national survey looking at public attitudes towards climate change in Northern Ireland suggests that most people accept that it is, at least in part, a man-made problem and the vast majority claim they are prepared to make changes to their lives in order to tackle it.

Domestic energy efficiency – turning off unused appliances and fitting energy saving lightbulbs – topped the list of actions people said they were prepared to take, with recycling more also looming large in the charts.

While these are small changes on an individual level, the accumulative effect could be significant if people put their good intentions into practice.

Edwin Poots, Northern Ireland Environment Minister, said he welcomed the findings of the survey, published by the province’s Statistics and Research Agency.

Most respondents accepted climate change is real and said they thought it was down to a combination of man-made and natural causes.

Over three quarters said they would make lifestyle changes to help reduce its impact.

The biggest concerns cited were damage to the natural world and wildlife, increased flooding and other sever weather events and a more polluted atmosphere – the latter perhaps due to the perception that wider environmental issues are all linked to climate change.

Mr Poots said: “The findings contained in the survey results are in line with my Department’s view that climate change is caused by human activity and natural processes together.

“I am encouraged that the public recognise that they have an important role to play in combating climate change. It is only by a combination of public action and government initiatives, that progress against climate change can be made.”

Sam Bond

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