Most Americans are underestimating both the potential economic impact of climate change and the role that entrepreneurs and investors can play in rectifying it, according to Inerjys Ventures, a climate solutions investment firm.
A new survey among over 2,000 U.S. adults, conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Inerjys Ventures, found fewer than two in five Americans (38%) believe that climate change will damage the U.S. economy if it is not addressed. Also, one in five Americans (19%) think it will cost more to solve climate change globally than it will to fix the problems that arise from it.
“Climate change is still by far the most difficult challenge humanity faces. We’ve seen recently just how quickly world economics can shift and climate change has the potential to wreak further havoc on the economy,” Stephan Ouaknine, Managing Partner, Inerjys Ventures said. “We need to communicate the economic benefits of climate-positive policies, urge action and encourage cleantech investment.”
“The fact that so few understand the damage climate change will cause to the U.S. economy gets to the heart of why positive change isn’t happening faster. The pandemic and current economic crisis is a reminder our planet is still in need; climate action cannot take a backseat and is still a great threat to humanity and the economy,” he said.
A quarter (25%) of Americans don’t think efforts from U.S. entrepreneurs/start-up companies are important in the fight against climate change and about a third of Americans (35%) believe there is not enough money being invested in technology that could help prevent or fix climate change, the survey found. Ouaknine says, however, more investment to bring new technologies to market is essential.
“Entrepreneurs and investors are the most critical piece of the climate solution puzzle but are currently being overlooked. While all entities have their role to play, solutions can only become a reality with intelligent investments in the technology, and by backing the projects to bring them to market,” Ouaknine said.
The survey suggests that Americans are confused about where blame and responsibility lay, when looking at government, large corporations, entrepreneurs, individuals or investors. Among Americans concerned about the impacts of climate change on the future, 42% say the U.S. government has more of a responsibility than U.S. companies to address issues in America that cause climate change.
Ouaknine disagrees, saying government’s role is to encourage and enable change, but the investors and private sector should drive the implementation of climate solutions.
“Recently, moves by large investors away from fossil fuel investments have made headlines however, the survey suggests many Americans don’t understand there’s still a gap when it comes to financing climate solutions. Government funding is a double-edged sword that often makes business comfortable and less innovative. The role of the private sector is essential at this stage,” Ouaknine said.
With its focus on climate tech, Inerjys is helping bring to market new technologies such as tidal power, off grid solar and storage and new agricultural technologies addressing food and land scarcity.