Despite being told the planet is doomed, and being subjected to relentless warnings about global warming, it seems the vast majority of people are not willing to pay a carbon tax.
In the same week as the much-hyped Climate Strike came the revelation that just 18% of Irish people support the idea of increasing carbon tax in the next Budget.
A Behaviour & Attitudes (B&A) poll for The Sunday Times found that almost three-quarters of voters were opposed to an increase in carbon tax to €40 per ton in the October Budget
“Asked if they would support a doubling of the tax on petrol, diesel, coal and briquettes to discourage their use, 72% of respondents said they would not,” the paper reported.
In Ireland, carbon tax is currently levied at €20 per ton of carbon dioxide.
While Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe is expected to bow to climate change campaigners and raise the tax in the budget, its clear the measure does not enjoy popular support.
The poll showed that even the majority of Green Party supporters were opposed, with 56% saying they were against the carbon tax hike, and just 33% supporting it.
It also revealed a rural/urban divide with almost a third of those living on Dublin (32%) in favour of increasing the tax in constant to just 9% in Connaught-Ulster.
Some of the reluctance to fork out for carbon tax may be because of growing scepticism about some of the wilder claims made by climate emergency advocates.
The ice-caps have not vanished, and new evidence shows that the earth has actually got greener in the past two decades – partly because of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.
It seems that the government’s decision to declare a climate emergency might not have shifted public opinion when it comes to paying the cost of climate concern.