Climate change remains primary concern despite economic distractions

Despite increasing climate impacts, climate optimism grew to 48%
Climate change remains primary concern despite economic distractions
Climate change manifestation poster on an industrial fossil fuel burning

While the world economy proves to be a distraction from efforts to address climate challenges, climate change remains a primary concern for many, according to the latest findings from tech firm Epson’s Climate Reality Barometer.

Despite a year of unprecedented climate impacts, the survey also reveals that people are increasingly optimistic that climate disasters can be averted in their lifetime. Data shows, however, that there are significant variations in confidence levels, driven by factors such as economics and age.

Unsurprisingly, immediate financial issues are people’s main concern. While “fixing the economy” (22%) and “rising prices” (21%) top the list of respondents’ priorities, climate change ranks a very close third (20%). Despite the global economic downturn, conflicts, and soaring energy bills, the climate crisis remains front of mind for many people around the world.

Climate concerns, however, aren’t leading to pessimism. Prior to COP26 in November 2021, 46% of global respondents were optimistic that climate catastrophe could be averted within a lifetime. As the world prepares for COP27 in Egypt this year, optimism has risen to more than 48%. This comes despite the impacts of climate change witnessed over the last year, suggesting a ‘reality deficit’ in people potentially misunderstanding the full future impacts of climate change on the world.

Findings also suggest that age is a factor, with the oldest and youngest age ranges most concerned about climate change. Those 55 and over are the only group to cite climate change as its most pressing global issue (22.2%), while the 16 to 24 group is the only one to rank it second (19.3%) – all other age ranges rank it third.

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