Indians optimistic about averting climate crisis, says Epson’s global research

Epson, a world leader in digital imaging and printing solutions, published its first Climate Reality Barometer in 2021: a survey of people from a diverse set of countries, ages and backgrounds to gauge understanding of, and attitudes towards, climate change.

12 Oct 2022 | By Rahul Kumar

On 10 October, Epson released the findings of its second Climate Reality Barometer 2022, a survey of 26,205 people across 28 countries, including India. Across the world, people are stepping up personal efforts to avert climate change, according to the latest findings.  Research from the global technology leader suggests that while the world economy proves to be a distraction from efforts to address climate challenges, climate change remains a primary concern for many.

The survey presents fascinating insights into how attitudes are (and are not) changing as the climate crisis unfolds. Findings show that awareness is growing – but slowly and inconsistently. While the ‘climate reality deficit’ identified in the first Barometer stubbornly persists – the data also suggests that it is narrowing, and that people are doing more to tackle the crisis.

In India however, the outlook remains extremely concerning.  In recent months, India has experienced record-breaking heatwaves, which have been made 100 times more likely by the climate crisis, according to experts.

Despite this, over three-fourths (78.3%) of people contacted in India are optimistic that they will avert a climate disaster in their lifetime. Respondents in other countries are far less optimistic with the opposite end of the spectrum being in France (22.5%) and Japan (10.4%).

On the other hand, 10.8% were pessimistic in India that we will avert a climate disaster in their lifetime. In France, a whopping 53.5% and in Japan 67.4% were unconvinced in contrast.

Over a third (39.2%) of the people surveyed in India as part of the Epson Climate Reality Barometer, believe rising prices and fixing the economy are the most urgent issues governments, companies and people around the world should be focusing on, only 21.1% see climate change as the most pressing issue. In contrast, 37.3% of respondents in China see climate change as the most pressing issue.

In India, younger respondents aged 25-34 (82.4%), were more optimistic than those aged 45-54 (68.1%) pointing to a possible and concerning lack of awareness among younger audiences.

Reality action: Individual steps

Promisingly though, individuals across the world are already acting on certain things to mitigate the climate emergency.

In India, the top three actions people report that they are already doing, include reducing plastic use (66.7%); walking or cycling more often (61.6%); and improving recycling habits (60.5%).

For those who have taken up actions to mitigate the impacts of climate change, there are some gaps in terms of how people have consistently committed to these actions. For example, just (20.8%) have tried reducing plastic use for longer than a year and continue to do so. The efforts to build awareness and inspire change need to be ongoing and consistent.

The individual lifestyle changes however suggest some focus on the climate emergency. In India, the three key drivers for change include company or community sustainability programmes (39.8%); government policy changes (38.9%) and influencers (37.2%).

Reality now: What's next?

Growing optimism in India and across the globe appears to contradict climate reality. In 2022, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) announced that human-induced climate change is causing dangerous and widespread disruption in nature and affecting the lives of billions of people around the world.

Yasunori Ogawa, global president of Epson, said: “Epson’s corporate purpose is focused on improving lives and the planet, and we will devote significant resources to achieve this. As the world gathers for COP27, our Climate Reality Barometer aims to raise awareness and empower transformational change. We hope that the Barometer’s insights will help governments, industries, and individuals to step up their efforts to avert climate disaster. While we know there is a long way to go, we believe we can build a better future if we work together and act now.”  

The 2022 Epson Climate Reality Barometer paints a not-so-rosy picture. It also indicates that short-term economic demands are in danger of distracting governments, businesses, and individuals from imperative environmental action. The world needs to keep its focus and ensure decisive, rapid, and effective responses to the ongoing climate emergency.

While individual actions are ramping up, it’s clear that much more needs to be done. Governments need to regulate for sustainability, businesses need to develop sustainable policies and technologies, and individuals need to accelerate lifestyle changes – if the world is to meet its climate change targets and avoid irreversible change.