A new report from Epson has found that climate change is now considered the most pressing global issue, with more people citing it than any other, including rising prices, poverty, and conflict.
The report, titled the “Climate Reality Barometer,” surveyed over 30,000 people in 39 markets. It found that 55% of respondents believe climate change is the biggest issue facing the world today, compared to 53% for rising prices, 37% for poverty, and 23% for conflict.
However, there are some global variances in attitudes. Respondents from the UK were slightly less likely to say that climate change is one of the biggest issues facing the world today (47.2% compared to the global average of 55.3%). Instead, rising prices took the top spot at 58.7%.
The report attributes this to the fact that many UK households are currently facing a “cost of living crisis” as residents grapple with increasing energy, rent, and food costs.
The Barometer, for the first time, explores the attitudes of those born since the first COP conference in 1995, known as Generation COP (Gen COP). It finds that Gen COP is slightly more optimistic about averting a climate crisis (38.9%) than people aged 30 and over (36.6%). In contrast, the 45-54 and 55+ age groups register the lowest optimism at 42% and 32%, respectively.
However, despite their increased optimism, Gen COP displays lower levels of action than the global average in nine of the 14 categories surveyed, such as switching to renewable energy, reducing consumption of animal products, and walking/cycling more often.
Barometer respondents see technology as the most important weapon in the fight against catastrophic climate change.
When asked what they believed was the most important thing that a business could do to tackle the issue, 48% cited investment in environmental technologies. This was closely followed by improvements in the recycling and reuse of products (45%), with reductions in the use of resources (28%), encouraging employee participation in environmental activities (21%) and offsetting carbon and plastic impact (21%) making up the top five.
Epson has highlighted the role of technology before, after its paper called ‘Turn Down the Heat’ found that a worldwide switch from laser to inkjet printers by 2025 could save 1.3 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. This is the equivalent of 280,000 cars being taken off the road each year.
“Epson’s Climate Reality Barometer ensures that all voices – including those of the often-overlooked COP Generation – are heard as the world moves to tackle climate change,” said Henning Ohlsson, Epson Europe’s director of sustainability. “ It has surfaced issues such as familiarity and affordability as possible barriers to action for millions of younger people. It shows us that some people continue to ignore catastrophic climate change and refuse, or feel unable, to act.
“These issues, however, are not problems confined to specific groups: they are challenges for us all. If we are to solve the climate crisis, we must act as one.
“Epson’s Barometer also shows us the way forward as people look to companies to take the lead on the green transition. Epson sees technology as an enabler, with products that are designed to use fewer resources in production and use, last for longer, are more easily repairable, can be re-used and are more easily recycled. Together, we can create the solutions that people need as they act to mitigate climate impact.”
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