Almost 60% of people are in favour of culling the national cattle herd, according to a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) survey.

Decreasing the size of the national herd was supported by 30% of survey respondents, with a further 29% stating that they strongly supported the measure.

Of those who responded to the survey, 22% said they were strongly opposed to cutting the size of the national herd to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while 19% said they were somewhat opposed to it.


Of those who responded to the survey, 91% said they would support increasing the area of forestry in their locality to offset greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.

There was strong support from 70% of survey respondents, while 21% said they would somewhat support the measure.

Sources of greenhouse gases

Survey respondents were asked: which sector was Ireland’s largest source of the pollution that causes climate change, before being given a list of industries.

Three in 10 respondents said agriculture, while one quarter answered transport and 28% said energy industries.

A large majority of respondents (82%) said they support building new infrastructure such as pylons or substations in their local area to increase the use of renewable energy.

The survey was conducted in autumn 2023 as part of a series of surveys over a number of years for the 'Climate Change in the Irish Mind' project.

This is an ongoing study of Irish people’s beliefs, attitudes, policy preferences and behaviours regarding climate change by the EPA in conjunction with the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC).


Responding to a question around concerns that the results do not tally with lived experience, report author Desmond O’Mahony of the EPA said the report was conducted in a manner that it would not be biased.

“One of the reasons we don’t think that is happening here is because the survey methodology randomly went out and found people.

“There are other large-scale surveys where you opt in, you’re already interested in the topic and you go there,” he said.


The results of the survey showed that 88% of respondents think climate change is affecting the weather in Ireland.

Since the last survey in this series in 2021, there has been an increase in the percentage of respondents who think extreme weather poses either a high or moderate risk to their community over the next 10 years.

The percentage of respondents who are at least somewhat worried about severe storms has increased by 10 percentage points (74% v 64%).

The percentage who are somewhat worried about extreme heat has increased by nine percentage points (54% v 45%) since the last survey.


The survey found that nearly all Irish people (95%) think climate change is happening.

Furthermore, 53% of respondents said they think climate change is mostly caused by human activities, while 39% answered they think it is caused equally by human and natural changes.

Some 89% of respondents said climate change is important to them personally.

Meanwhile, 78% said they often or occasionally discuss climate change with family and friends.

Approximately three-quarters of respondents said they hear about climate change in the media once a week or more often.

A total of 1,330 residents in the Republic of Ireland, aged 18 and older, were surveyed. The survey was fielded by Behaviour & Attitudes between the 30 August to the 6 October 2023.

A demographic breakdown of survey respondents is yet to be provided by the EPA.

However, the organisation said the demographic of respondents is weighted to Central Statistic Office (CSO) norms.