Is ‘Green fatigue’ setting in?

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A  new energy report reveals that too few people are making an effort to reduce their household CO2 emissions, environmentalists believe the recession is further undermining public commitment.

The report confirms that Britons are less environmentally conscious than they were five years ago, with twice as many people now “bored” by talk of climate change as in 2005. Four in 10 take no action at all to reduce their household carbon dioxide emissions. Experts warn that green fatigue is a major reason why there are more cars on the roads, more planes in the sky and no reduction in the mountain of packaging waste.

The data shows that many of Britain’s 26 million homes fail to make simple adjustments such as turning down thermostats, switching off lights and switching off appliances rather than leaving them on standby. The findings also reveal people are less willing to spend money on energy-efficient appliances than they were five years ago. Analysts believe the recession together with a backlash against “extreme” environmentalist pressure has reduced people’s enthusiasm to combat climate change.

The report also found that resistance to saving the planet was greater among men: one in four said they think there is too much concern over the environment, compared with one in six women.

Other evidence of waning public interest in consumers’ carbon footprint includes a rise in air and car travel. The number of cars on UK roads has risen from just over 26 million in 2005 to more than 31 million in 2009. Air travel has also increased, the number of passengers rising from 227 million in 2005 to 235 million in 2008.

New research from the Energy Saving Trust found that climate change has taken a back seat to recession concerns (possibly understandably). The report blames the problem partly on consumer ignorance, and recommends that the Government “help consumers to help themselves” by providing them with more information about energy savings in accessible ways.

This only supports my own view that people will only embrace the technology required to be green if they see a personal benefit and it is at a minimal cost to themselves. The Government need to address this by making the grants currently available to the underprivileged few, available to us all so that we can insulate etc.

Unlikely in the current economic climate?

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