The folks at Eurobarometer continue to shed light on what ails the people of Ireland. Their latest report on attitudes towards climate change (pdf) is more interesting for what it has to say about other matters. One of the introductory questions they asked in their survey, conducted between March and May 2008, was 'what do you consider to be the most serious problem currently facing the world as a whole?'. People could choose up to three problems from a pre-defined list. Climate change was the number 2 issue in the EU27 (62% saying it was the most serious problem - after poverty, lack of food and drinking water at 68%), and was actually number 1 in Ireland (at 63%).
However, more interesting was the percentage citing 'a major global economic downturn' as the most serious problem. Ireland had the highest percentage of respondents choosing this issue of all the 27 EU nations in the survey: with 43% of Irish people identifying it as one of the most serious problem facing the world versus just 24% of all Europeans. The Irish part of the survey was conducted in April 2008 by the way, a full two months before the ESRI made it official that we had entered a recession - and over a month before the Lisbon Treaty was rejected at the Referendum on 12th June.
So perhaps it really was the economy after all that scuppered Lisbon, despite all the nonsense about conscription (pdf)? As I've noted before, fears about globalisation are at the heart of a lot of Irish angst right now.
Interestingly, specifically in relation to climate change, the detailed Irish results (pdf) show young Irish people to be less alarmed about climate change than either their elders or other young Europeans. Again, the negativity of younger voters towards the Lisbon Treaty might well have been motivated by economic concerns.
Something tells me that, following De Valera's example and looking into my heart, the Irish people - and lot more of our fellow Europeans - might well have revised their priorities in relation to the most serious problems facing the world since the Eurobarometer survey was done. And the nice thing is that they'll update it in due course and we'll be able to see for ourselves.