60% of South Africans Optimistic that a Climate Change Disaster Can be Avoided

Almost 60% of South Africans are confident that a climate disaster will be averted in their lifetime

20 January 2022 – Epson has released the results of its global Climate Reality Barometer, which found that almost sixty percent (58.9%) of South Africans surveyed are optimistic that the country will avert a climate crisis in their lifetime. This reveals a potentially damaging gap between perceptions of climate change and people’s understanding of its catastrophic effects.

The survey captured the experiences and perceptions of climate change of just over 1000 South Africans.

Optimistic South Africans believe that science and technology can solve the climate change problem (27.9%), that the country can move from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources (28.4%), and that people are more aware of climate dangers than they were historically (27.4%).

Those who are pessimistic (17.4%) and believe we won’t avoid a climate disaster in their lifetime, cite a lack of awareness of the dangers of climate change (34.3%), a lack of government action (27.4%) and a slow switch to renewable sources of energy such as wind turbines (24%) as reasons for their pessimism.

Respondents were asked what they believe the top three effects of climate change to be. Most identified higher temperatures (81.2%), more wildfires, and more extreme weather (both 79%).

The goal of Epson’s barometer is to raise greater public awareness of the impacts of climate change, to influence transformative business decisions, and to better inform policy makers. It was timed to help frame discussions at COP 26  held in the UK in November 2021.

“The Epson Climate Reality Barometer and its discovery of a climate reality deficit shows that awareness, coupled with action, will be critical to tackling the climate emergency we’re facing. We believe that we can all build a better future if we work together to make smarter decisions to reduce our individual and collective impacts on the environment,” says Thomas.

“Our goal is to bring both this awareness and the technologies needed — by our company, other businesses and consumers — to make 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,” he concludes.