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Behavior Change
#ClimateOptimist Campaign Gears Up to Kick Climate Fatalism to the Curb

A new survey from The Climate Group and change agency Futerra has revealed that a majority of people globally are optimistic about our ability to address climate change, with 64 percent of global citizens believing that climate change can be addressed if action is taken now.

Conducted by global market research firm Ipsos, the survey polled adults aged 16–64 in 26 countries and is at the heart of a new campaign, #ClimateOptimist, which seeks to raise awareness of the solutions to climate change in an effort to change the dominant narrative on climate change. Mars, VF Corporation, Interface, Ashden and the DivestInvest movement are just a few of the campaign’s partners.

The survey found that people in emerging economies generally feel positive about solving climate change, with 71 percent believing it can be addressed if action is taken now, compared to only 59 percent in established economies. Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Mexico, India, Peru and South Africa demonstrated the highest numbers of optimists.

Findings also indicated that twice as many people believe new technologies are leading the way in delivering sustainable solutions than businesses or regional governments, with sixty-five percent of people agreeing that technologies such as wind power and electric vehicles are evidence of our ability to mitigate climate change. Only four percent of people globally believe that the Earth’s climate is not changing.

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“Solving climate change starts with the belief that we can. These results show that new technologies are fueling that belief globally,” said Helen Clarkson, CEO of The Climate Group.

“They also show that despite being the lead investors in green technology, businesses and governments have much more to do in communicating their climate leadership. In the private sector, we’ve seen a record number of global companies commit to sourcing 100 percent renewable power through our RE100 campaign. The Under2 Coalition, for which The Climate Group acts as secretariat, now includes over 180 jurisdictions that are committed to tackling climate change. The general public doesn’t always hear the good news. This survey sends a promising signal that the world is ready to hear more about the solutions and work together to solve climate change.

Young people, in particular, are likely to agree with fatalistic statements. Twenty-two percent of 16–35 year-olds believe that it is now too late to stop climate change and there is no point trying, compared with 18 percent of 35–49 year-olds and 16 percent of 50–64 year-olds. Thirty-nine percent of under-35s in India, 30 percent in Brazil, 27 percent in Spain and Sweden and 29 percent in the United States believe this is the case.

“Solving climate change starts with the belief that we can, so on the one hand it is thrilling to learn that climate optimists already far outweigh climate pessimists globally,” said Solitaire Townsend, Co-Founder of Futerra. “However, the dangerous levels of fatalism, especially among young people, give cause for alarm. There are many reasons to believe we’ll solve climate change, but doom, fear and guilt dominate media coverage of this issue. The #ClimateOptimist campaign is designed to change that narrative because science shows that optimism spurs action.”

The #ClimateOptimist campaign is grounded in decades of scientific evidence which shows that optimism compels action. The campaign asks people to opt-in as a Climate optimist and share their belief that climate change can be addressed, take climate actions in their own life and shine a light on solutions.

“We’re optimists because we believe if we set bold science based goals then human ingenuity will find a way to advance solutions,” said Barry Parkin, Chief Sustainability Officer for Mars. “We’re already realizing the business case for renewable energy. That’s why we’re fans of wind and other renewable energy sources.”

“We’re optimists because we know we’re not alone,” said Letitia Webster, VP of Global Corporate Sustainability at VF Corporation. “From the 193 countries that signed the Paris Agreement to the 106 companies globally committed to going 100 percent renewable alongside us, millions of people around the globe are dedicated to innovative solutions to address the challenges. They give us confidence that we can solve this together.”


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