With just 42 days to go before the start of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in the UK in November, Epson has announced the results of its Climate Reality Barometer. Epson reports that its research discovers a potentially damaging gap between climate reality and people’s understanding of its catastrophic effects. The survey captures global experiences and perceptions of climate change from 15,264 consumers across Asia, Europe, North America and South America, including 1,207 consumers in India. Timed to help frame discussions at COP 26, the goal of the Epson Climate Reality Barometer is to raise greater public awareness of climate change impacts, influence transformative business decisions, and better inform policy makers.
According to the report, when questioned about their views on humanity’s ability to avert a climate crisis within their lifetimes, almost three in four (73.4%) of people surveyed in India as part of the Epson Climate Reality Barometer, state they are “very” or “somewhat” optimistic, while just one in 10 (11.4%) claim to be very or somewhat pessimistic. Epson reports that this significantly outweighs the global trend, with close to half of the respondents worldwide (46%) stating that they are optimistic and 27% expressing pessimism in this regard. Their results showed a worrying climate reality deficit between participants perception of the scale and immediacy of the climate emergency on one hand and the actions to tackle the same on the other. In India 4.1% of respondents do not believe that there is a climate emergency at all, while US tops the list of climate deniers at 11%.
The study stated that the optimism in India was driven most by ‘opportunities to use science and technology to solve problems’ (31.9%), the fact that people are not aware of climate change dangers (26.4%) and the ability to move away from fossil fuels like coal to renewable sources like wind energy (21.4%). It also stated that those who were pessimistic, were driven mostly by a belief that people are not aware of climate change dangers (32.6%), a lack of government action (30.4%) – with 17.4% believing that the switch to renewable energy sources like wind energy is not being done fast enough. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that India will suffer more frequent and intense heat waves, extreme rainfall events and erratic monsoons, as well as more cyclonic activity, among other weather-related calamities in the coming decades. Epson’s Climate Reality Barometer’s findings suggest a damaging triumph of optimism over evidence, with potentially devastating consequences. The survey also revealed that globally only 14% of respondents recognised big businesses as most responsible for tackling the climate emergency, and just 3% small companies (fewer than the 5% of climate change deniers).
Epson reports that it is transitioning to 100% renewable electricity and engaging with initiatives such as the RE100 renewable energy project, working to close the resource loop by promoting product refurbishment and reuse and engaging in high impact partnerships like its work with National Geographic to protect permafrost.
Yasunori Ogawa, Global President of Epson, commented, “The discovery of the Climate Reality Deficit shows that awareness coupled with action, will be critical to tackling the emergency. Epson’s goal is to bring this awareness and the technologies needed by our company, other businesses and consumers to action transformational change. Sustainability is central to our business plan and backed by significant resources because, while we know there is a long way to go, we believe we can build a better future.”