A majority 72.1 percent of Kenyans are willing to invest in electric vehicles in an effort to combat climate change.
This according to a survey conducted by Global Technology Company Epson annually, dubbed the Epson Climate Reality Barometer.
This year’s survey, which gathered insights from over 30,000 respondents in 39 markets worldwide, sheds light on global responses to climate change.
Notably, more people now consider climate change the foremost global issue, and technology is viewed as a pivotal tool in addressing this crisis.
The survey underscores the impact of severe and recurring droughts in Kenya, with the State Department of Livestock reporting the loss of 2.5 million livestock and the suffering of the remaining 10 million in arid regions due to the lack of pasture and water.
Researchers have linked climate change to the severity and frequency of natural disasters like droughts, floods, locust infestations, and the COVID-19 pandemic, estimating the cost of mitigation and compensation for loss and damage to reach approximately $580 billion by 2030.
In this context, it’s not surprising that nearly 70.7% of Kenyan respondents in the Epson Climate Reality Barometer consider climate change the most pressing global issue, a significantly higher percentage than in other surveyed markets. This is followed by concerns about rising prices at 62.1% and poverty at 54.3%.
This emphasis on climate change as the foremost concern is more pronounced among those aged 30 and over, with 74.4% sharing this perspective, as opposed to the COP Generation [those aged 29 and under] at 59.8%.
Despite these concerns, there is a high level of optimism among Kenyans regarding the possibility of averting a climate disaster within their lifetimes, with 75.2% expressing optimism 79% for the COP Generation and 74% for those aged 30 and above]. Globally, optimism stands at a lower 47%.
The level of optimism in Kenya has remained relatively stable over the past year, decreasing only slightly from 76% in the 2022 Barometer to 75.2% in the current year’s survey.
This optimism is reflected in Kenyans’ sentiments about climate change in the next 12 months, with 47.3% feeling “Hopeful” [the most common response], followed by “Optimistic” at 42.5% and “Positive” at 36.3%.
When asked about the most important actions that companies can take in the fight against climate change, the top responses include “invest in environmental technologies” at 68.8% and “improve recycling and reuse of products” at 57.5%.
Yasunori Ogawa, global president of Epson, emphasizes the need to understand attitudes towards ongoing climate change, highlighting Epson’s commitment to achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal 13 through positive climate action and delivering solutions to enrich lives and build a better world. He also underscores the importance of listening to the younger generation to align positive actions with their lifelong experience of climate change.
Reality Reaction: Individuals Taking Action
Encouragingly, many people are already taking action to mitigate the climate emergency in Kenya. The top three actions reported include:
- Using more reusable goods, such as shopping bags [89.4%]
- Reducing plastic use [77.1%]
- Walking or cycling more frequently [69.9%]
Additionally, the top three actions people plan to take in the future include:
- Switching to an electric vehicle [72.1%]
- Encouraging their workplace to commit to or enhance its net-zero strategy [60.4%] for those in employment or educational establishments [50%]
- Switching to renewable energy [53.4%]
Reality Reaction: A Call for Companies to Act
In Kenya, individuals believe that the most important steps companies can take in the fight against climate change are:
- Investing in environmental technologies [68.8%]
- Improving recycling and reuse of products [57.5%]
- Encouraging employee participation in environmental activities [38.7%]
Kenyans are notably more likely to view climate change as the most significant global issue, with 70.7% expressing this belief, compared to a global figure of 55.3%. Conversely, Saudi Arabia is the least likely to choose this option, with only 43% doing so.
Furthermore, Kenyans are the most optimistic about averting a climate disaster in their lifetime, with 75.2% sharing this optimism, compared to 47% globally. Among Kenyan respondents, the COP Generation [79%] is slightly more optimistic than those aged 30 and older [74%].
Across the African markets surveyed, there are mixed sentiments about climate change in the next 12 months. For instance, in Kenya, the top response is “Hopeful” [47.3%], while in Egypt, it is “Positive” [38.7%], in Morocco, it is “Hopeful” [33.3%], in Tunisia, it is “Fearful” [26.8%], and in South Africa, it is “Fearful” [36.7%].
Technology as an Enabler
Respondents in the Barometer overwhelmingly view technology as the most crucial tool in addressing catastrophic climate change. When asked about the most important action a business could take to combat the issue, 48% mentioned investing in environmental technologies. This was closely followed by improving recycling and reuse of products [45%], reducing resource usage [28%], encouraging employee participation in environmental activities [21%], and offsetting carbon and plastic impacts [21%], making up the top five priorities.
“At Epson, we are taking decisive action in response to the urgent challenge of climate change, refusing to be paralyzed by its looming threat. We firmly believe that the collective efforts of individuals, communities, companies, technologies, governments, and nations across the globe are essential to confront these pressing challenges. Only through united action can we hope to avert catastrophe.
The 2023 Epson Climate Reality Barometer highlights encouraging progress. The world is increasingly recognizing that climate change stands as the paramount issue and the most formidable challenge of our era. As we face this challenge head-on, we should maintain optimism that our actions can usher in positive transformations. However, it is crucial not to let this optimism constrain our commitment to taking meaningful steps,” asserts Mukesh Bector, Epson Regional Head, East and West Africa.