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Consumers urged to freeze out fossil fuels to combat climate breakdown

01.11.2019

New research reveals dramatic disconnect between the environmentally friendly actions people assume will have a positive impact – and the ones that actually make the biggest difference

  • More than two thirds of people prepared to make lifestyle changes to live more sustainably…
  • …but over 40% are unclear what action they should take to make a difference.
  • Friends of the Earth’s new campaign launches today, recommending that people switch to a 100% renewable energy company to help tackle the climate emergency.

Suffering from eco-anxiety but don’t know what to do to save the planet? You’re not alone. New research has found that two thirds of Brits are concerned about climate change and even more are prepared to make changes to green their lifestyle.

The new survey of 2,000 adults[1], commissioned by Good Energy, shows public awareness of the climate emergency is growing, yet nearly half of consumers are unclear what action they can take. And the changes people are most likely to make are having a minimal effect on the climate emergency.

Reducing plastic topped people’s list but will have little impact on your carbon footprint. Simple lifestyle choices which have a bigger impact languished at the bottom – switching to a genuinely green energy tariff (5%), flying less (4%) and eating less meat (4%).

Environmental scientist, Dr Alexandra Jellicoe commented: “People have been bombarded with messages about plastic pollution following the success of shows such as Blue Planet, so it’s no wonder many think reducing plastic is the top thing they can do to combat the climate crisis.

“Although essential for the health of our oceans, switching to reusable bags and cups has a minimal impact on an individual’s carbon footprint. One of the biggest things individuals can do is to freeze out fossil fuels by reducing air travel and switching to a green energy supplier.”

According to the survey, only 15% of Brits have considered switching to a green energy supplier, and almost half (49%) did not know that it is one of the biggest differences they could make to protect the environment.

A new campaign from Friends of the Earth, launching today, is calling on consumers to switch to 100% green energy.

Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth CEO, said: “To combat the climate crisis, we urgently need to transition away from fossil fuels which generate vast quantities of climate-wrecking pollution.

“Government policy will be key to accelerating that transition at scale, but each of us can play our part by making simple changes to our lifestyle. If each household in the UK were to switch to renewable energy today, we could save millions of tonnes of carbon every year.”

Good Energy, the Which? accredited 100% renewable energy company, provides all its customers with electricity from wind, solar, hydro and bio-generation sourced directly from producers across the UK.

Good Energy CEO Juliet Davenport, who founded the company in 1999, added: “We are facing a climate emergency and need a whole systems approach to tackling it – which means government, business and individuals working together to accelerate positive change.

“It’s vital that consumers are empowered to take action against the crisis, but our survey reveals deep confusion as to which actions make a difference. There are simple things you can do, today – eat less meat, fly less and use green energy.

“We can still avoid climate breakdown if we are bold enough to act now.”

Nearly two thirds of people would choose a green tariff if it supported our move away from fossil fuels to a new clean energy system. The average household could cut more than 4T of carbon emissions from their footprint every year[2] if they switched to 100% renewable energy – more than the emissions of four flights from London to New York.[3]

Three quarters believe there is huge potential to build more renewable energy in the UK and 71% want to support renewable producers. The majority of Brits believe this change should also be brought about by people, government and businesses working together to reduce emissions equally.

Switch now using the referral code Good Friends when prompted and as well as receiving £50 credit on your energy account, a further £50 will be donated to Friends of the Earth.

Ends

The survey of 2,002 British adults was conducted by Opinium between 11-15 October 2019 and balanced demographically by age, region and gender.

Media contacts

Good Energy press office

Ian McKee / Adam Wentworth

press@goodenergy.co.uk / 07718 671003

Rosie Williams / Helen Bell

goodenergy@greenhousepr.co.uk / 07990 788411

About Good Energy www.goodenergy.co.uk

Good Energy powers homes and businesses with 100% renewable electricity from a community of over 1500 UK generators and owns and operate two wind farms, including the UK’s first commercial wind farm, and six solar farms. In addition, Good Energy offers a green gas product which contains 6% biomethane — gas produced here in the UK from food waste. To make it completely carbon neutral, emissions from the rest of the gas its customers use is balanced through supporting verified carbon-reduction schemes in Malawi, Vietnam and Nepal.

  • Established to tackle climate change and help deliver energy security for the UK.
  • Founded in 1999 by Juliet Davenport OBE.
  • A British company based in Chippenham, Wiltshire.
  • Good Energy’s electricity comes from local, natural sources like sunshine, wind and rain.

SURVEY RESULTS IN FULL

Concern about climate change

  • 61% of people are increasingly concerned about climate change.
  • 65% are prepared to make changes to their life to live more sustainability.
  • BUT 42% say that it is not clear what action they could take that would make a difference.

The biggest impact you can make

What one change do you think would have the biggest impact on reducing your carbon footprint?

  1. Avoid plastic – 18%
  2. Use less energy – 11%
  3. Switch to an electric vehicle (EV) – 10%
  4. Stop flying – 10%
  5. Waste less (e.g. only purchase food I know I am going to eat) – 8%
  6. Switch to green energy – 5%
  7. Eat less meat – 4%
  8. Go vegan – 4%
  9. Fly less often – 4%
  10. Go vegetarian – 2%

Despite the climate emergency and the need to move away from fossil fuels and shift to a green economy to achieve zero carbon emissions people do not make the link:

  • Nearly half 49% did not know that switching to green energy is one of the biggest differences they could make to protect the environment
  • 71% would like to support UK renewable energy producers and 66% don’t think we should be importing our energy from abroad, from countries like Russia
  • 68% say that they would be prepared to switch to green energy if it supported the development of renewable energy in the UK.
  • 75% think we have huge potential for more renewable energy to be made in the UK
  • Only 15% have considered switching to a green energy supplier.

If people knew the difference they could make they would choose green energy tariff if it would help create a clean energy system.

  • 65% say that they would choose a green tariff if it supported our move away from fossil fuels to a new clean energy system

And that includes doing more to support renewables in the UK

  • 75% say that they think the government should be doing more to support renewables

People think that the government needs to take responsility for tackling the clmate emergency – but more than half know they themselves need to take action.

  • 68% Government
  • 57% Businesses
  • 51% Individuals
  • 25% Charities and Non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
  • 16% Don’t know / not sure

Quarter think it’s too difficult to be environmentally friendly while more than half have good intentions for 2020:

  • More than half have good intentions for the future - 57% intend to be ‘greener’ in 2020
  • One quarter (24%) just think it is too difficult to be environmentally friendly

Changes people would be prepared to make:

  1. 44% would avoid plastic
  2. 37% would waste less (e.g. only purchase food I know I am going to eat)
  3. 26% would use less energy
  4. 15% would switch to a green energy supplier
  5. 13% would eat less meat
  6. 9% would change to an electric vehicle (EV) car
  7. 5% would go vegetarian
  8. 6% would stop flying and 6% would fly less frequently
  9. 3% would go vegan
  10. Nearly 1 in 10 would not be prepared to take any action to address climate change (11%)

People expect a green energy supplier to support new clean green energy

  • 54% expect their renewable energy supplier to own and operate renewable projects, such as a wind or solar farm.

Nearly one in three would even be prepared to pay more.

39% would be prepared to pay more for energy if it meant not polluting the planet.

[1] The survey of 2,002 British adults was conducted by Opinium between 11-15 October 2019 and balanced demographically by age, region and gender.

[2] https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/5CB-Infographic-FINAL-.pdf

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2019/jul/31/carbon-calculator-find-out-how-much-co2-your-flight-will-emit

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