British adults are doing their bit to help combat climate change but are so overwhelmed with information they are unsure of how their actions help, a study has found.
A poll of 4,000 adults revealed 70 per cent are helping to tackle the climate crisis by reducing their waste and recycling more, while others are using less energy (66 per cent) and driving less (65 per cent).
But 59 per cent want more education on the climate crisis and what impact their actions actually have.
Half of those polled were unsure how turning off the lights or TV switches when not in use can help, while only a third are clear that limiting water consumption can make a difference.
The study, commissioned by Smart Energy GB, also found a fifth were unaware coal is still used as an electricity source in the UK – until we recently set a coal-free record of nearly 68 days.
Seven in 10 adults didn’t know about this record, and nearly a third didn’t recognise the importance of this as a step in the right direction for the environment.
Data from Energy Saving Trust revealed that during the coal-free period we reduced our CO2e emissions by 5.5 million tonnes compared to the same period over recent years.
That’s equivalent to the CO2e emitted from 1.5 million homes each year or enough CO2e to fill 1.2 million Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Smart Energy GB has teamed up with Energy Saving Trust and Carol Vorderman to explain the positive impact people’s eco-friendly actions have.
Carol said: “Many years ago I worked as a civil engineer in an enormous hydro-electric station. It started my fascination with renewable energy.
“We have been transitioning from fossil fuels making our electricity to renewables.
“A critical part of that is predicting how much energy will be needed and when. New tech, like smart meters, will help to do this and update our energy system.
“That’s why the simple actions we take are so important, because when they are added together, they're immensely powerful.
“Getting a smart meter installed is a small thing we can all do.
“Not only do they help us monitor how much energy we use, they'll also help fight climate change by helping us to rely more on renewable energy and enabling low carbon alternatives such as EVs.
“The easiest way to see how far we’ve come is to look at our recent 67 days without the use of coal fired power stations. A brilliant new record!
“And while there was low energy demand during those days, the record could not have been achieved without renewable energy – a huge feat that I’m very proud of.”
The study also found 46 per cent recognise how cutting down meat and dairy consumption is good for the planet, but only 36 per cent understand exactly why it will help make a difference.
A further 64 per cent are aware renewable energy is paramount in the war against climate change, but half aren’t actually clear on why this is.
It also emerged a quarter of the nation believe their knowledge is limited because they find it a confusing subject to cover, while 17 per cent don’t think they could confidently explain climate change to someone who had never heard of it.
A quarter (26 per cent) also feel they lack knowledge because they find the amount of information overwhelming.
The study also found 23 per cent are concerned about their environmental impact but are stumped on how to make a difference.
In fact, only 38 per cent of adults believe they do enough to reduce their carbon footprint.
And 68 per cent of people worry about how climate change will affect the next generation’s future, according to the OnePoll research.
Robert Cheesewright, director, Smart Energy GB said: “Making changes to the way we live will allow us to move away from fossil fuels and become carbon neutral.
“Part of the road to a reduction in fossil fuel usage is to upgrade our outdated energy system, and everyone can play their part in this important upgrade by getting a smart meter installed.
“It's great that everyone is so keen to do their bit to combat climate change and want to know more.
“Even small things like remembering to turn the lights off and washing clothes at a lower temperature – it all adds up.
“The recent coal-free record, which was partly a result of the low electricity demand, has given us a glimpse into the renewable energy future.
“Smart meters are at the heart of this and will unlock the potential for other green and smart technologies.”
To request a smart meter installation, contact your energy supplier.
Some of the actions you can take to help reduce your carbon footprint:
Getting a smart meter installed
Using less water
Consuming less meat and dairy
Wasting less food
Using an electric vehicle (EV)
Using public transport
Using energy efficient lightbulbs or appliances
Switching off things which aren't in use, such as a TV on standby or a light when not in the room
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