Epson Global Survey Reveals Startling Climate Reality Deficit

Epson Global Survey Reveals Startling Climate Reality Deficit

Singapore is facing a potentially damaging gap between climate  reality and people’s understanding of its catastrophic effects, according to the results of its Climate Reality Barometer from global technology leader, Epson. The survey captures global experiences  and perceptions of climate change from 15,264 consumers across Asia, Europe, North America  and South America. 

Timed to help frame discussions at the upcoming COP 26 in November 2021, 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. 

Reality Deficit: The Gap Between Perception and Climate Reality 

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report noted that cities intensify  human-caused warming locally, and further urbanisation together with more frequent hot extremes  will increase the severity of heatwaves. Singapore has already experienced warming higher than  the global average because of the urban heat island effect – a phenomenon of urban structures 

trapping heat in the day and releasing it at night. Despite this, well over half (52.4%) of people  surveyed1 as part of the Epson Climate Reality Barometer in Singapore are optimistic that we will  avert a climate disaster in their lifetime. 

For those who are optimistic, the most popular reasons supporting this optimism is the belief that  people are more aware of climate change dangers (29.5%) and the opportunity to use science and  technology to solve problems (23.1%) and the ability to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy  sources (23.1%). 

On the other hand, 23.9% were pessimistic that they will avert a climate disaster in their lifetime.  Overall, the majority of those who are pessimistic are driven mostly by a belief that people are not  aware of climate change dangers (40.8%) or a feeling that there’s a lack of government action  (21.7%). 

Reality check: Where we are today 

The study suggests that optimism may be the result of a failure to recognise climate change and,  therefore, its scale. In Singapore, some of the top events most associated with climate change include higher temperatures (82.7%), more extreme weather (78.6%) and rising sea levels  (78.4%). At the same time, the least associated with climate change are insect outbreaks (52.2%),  thawing permafrost (58.1%) and mass migration (59.9%). 

Mr. Siew Jin Kiat, Regional Managing Director of Epson Singapore said: “As the climate  emergency unfolds before our eyes, it is of real concern that so many people fail to recognise its existence. This is a wake-up call for us to act together and act fast in line, taking guidance from  the Singapore Green Plan 2030. The pressure is on for businesses and individuals to work together  alongside the Government to make decisions and inspire the rapid action needed to mitigate  climate change.” 

Reality responsibility: Who should take actions 

Many see the responsibility to tackle the climate emergency belonging to state and industry actors.  Of those surveyed, nearly a third in Southeast Asia (31.2%) believe governments and 22% believe  businesses, are “most responsible for tackling the climate emergency” – with 2% not believing in  a climate emergency. 

That said, there is evidence that the idea of personal and collective responsibility is widely held too. Encouragingly, respondents in Southeast Asia (25.2%) see that they are personally “most  responsible”, while almost one in five (19%) believe that we are all responsible – with action  incumbent on governments, businesses and individuals alike. 

Reality action: Individual steps 

Individually, people are taking their own actions to mitigate the climate emergency. The study also  found that in Singapore, the top three actions that people are taking include walking or cycling more often (64.9%), reducing plastic use (64.5%) and improving recycling habits (59.9%). 

Despite this, there are still gaps in terms of what people are willing to do, which will be important  in reaching net zero targets at a global and national level. Almost one in five Singaporeans  indicated resistance towards reducing international travel for business and leisure (18.1%) and  nearly a quarter indicated that they would never adopt a plant-based diet (23.8%). 

Business reality: The time to act is now 

All in all, the Epson Climate Reality Barometer and its discovery of the Climate Reality Deficit  shows that there is a long way to go if we are to take the fundamental actions necessary to avert  irreversible climate change. Greater understanding and collective endeavour, however, will enable  and empower rapid action. 

Companies can empower other businesses and consumers with sustainability supporting  innovations. At Epson, this has seen the development of, for example: initiatives to reduce  customer impact through the use of highly energy efficient PrecisionCore Heat-Free technology;  and R&D into environmental technologies such as naturally derived (non-plastic) materials. 

Beyond product and materials innovation, businesses can make a big difference by promoting and  demonstrating climate responsibility. Epson carries this forward by: transitioning to 100%  renewable electricity and engaging with initiatives such as the RE100 renewable energy project;  working to close the resource loop for example, by promoting product refurbishment and reuse;  and engaging in high impact partnerships such as its work with National Geographic to promote  protecting permafrost through the Turn Down The Heat campaign

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.” 

1 Singapore Research Methodology: Online survey was conducted in August 2021 among 504 consumers in Singapore 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.