The public needs reminding that saving energy is good for the planet, argues Andrew Warren. British people are very confused about what they should most usefully be doing, in order to assuage any guilt they might feel about damaging the climate. A Smart Energy GB study released this week found just three in 10 people think being energy efficient would have the biggest impact on protecting the environment. This startling finding was backed up another a survey of 2,000 people undertaken by Opinium Research. That found saving energy tends to come way down the list of possible practical response under consideration. The most popular response to the Opinium survey was to “avoid throwing away food”. This was followed by various moves to reduce plastic wastage – buying plastic-packed groceries, single-use plastic bottles, using plastic shopping bags – or simply not recycling enough. Steven Day, co-founder of Pure Planet, which sponsored the opinion survey, commented: “It is great that the majority of people are thinking more about their impact on our environment. But it looks like they are feeling guilty about the smaller things – not the biggest-impact activities causing the greatest harm.” This lack of awareness of the potential for saving energy contrasts enormously with similar surveys undertaken twenty years ago, admittedly when overall awareness of the threat of climate change was far lower. Then, the vast majority of people would always respond to questions to the threat of climate change by emphasising the need to save energy, both at home and at work. Since 2010 there have been no publicly funded awareness campaigns supporting energy efficiency funded by central government. Their abandonment directly followed the privatisation of the two main public advice agencies, the Energy Saving Trust and the Carbon Trust.
Business Green 10th Oct 2019 read more »