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Public understanding grows on energy and climate change consensus

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The British public is becoming more aware of the scientific consensus on climate change and the public consensus on renewable energy, a survey shows. The ComRes survey for the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) reveals that adults in Great Britain are more likely than a year ago to know that almost all climate scientists believe climate change is mainly the result of human activities.

People are also more likely than they were a year ago to know that more than three-quarters of the UK public supports renewable energy.

ECIU, a non-profit think-tank that supports informed debate on energy and climate change, commissioned the survey to detect changes in public understanding a year after asking the same questions in its initial launch survey.

Many studies show that well over 90% of climate scientists, perhaps as many as 97%, think that the main cause of climate change is human activity.

The ECIU/ComRes survey shows that only 16% of Britons know that ‘almost all’ climate scientists share this view. That has risen from 11% a year ago. The percentage of the public thinking that either ‘a majority’ or ‘almost all’ scientists take this position has also risen, from 53% a year ago to 61% now.

“Growing awareness of the scientific consensus on climate change is an important finding, because good understanding helps citizens to engage knowledgably with the democratic process,” said the Earl of Selborne, the Conservative Peer who chairs the House of Lords Select Committee for Science and Technology.

“But a substantial gap between perception and reality remains, which is troubling. It poses a challenge to opinion leaders, notably in politics and the media, to communicate facts clearly to the general public so they appreciate the rationale for climate change policies.”

The survey also looked at perceptions of public opinion regarding renewable energy. Repeated studies by the government and others show that more than three-quarters of the UK population supports renewables, and only a tiny proportion – less than 5% – opposes it.

In ECIU’s 2014 launch survey, only 5% of the population knew that public support for renewables was this high. This time, the figure came in at 9%.

And 48% of the population knows that less than a quarter of the public opposes renewables – up from 37% last year.

Robin Lustig, the journalist and broadcaster who presented BBC Radio Four’s The World Tonight for 23 years, suggested the media may be doing a better job of reflecting the realities to their public.

He said: “It’s obvious that the media have a crucial role to play in conveying accurate information to listeners, viewers and readers, and these small but significant rises in the number of people who are accurately informed suggest that journalists and editors may now be doing a better job.

“But there is clearly a long way to go on both these issues, and it’s a shame that there are still too many articles and programmes suggesting that climate science is discredited or that the public hate renewable energy.

“Especially in such a critical year for energy and climate change, with the approach of the UN climate summit and the UK government actively re-shaping energy policy, it’s more important than ever that the media get their facts right, while still allowing space for informed debate.”

Both Mr Lustig and the Earl of Selborne sit on ECIU’s Advisory Board.

Overall, the survey showed that the consensus among British adults that climate change is happening and is mainly caused by human activity has not changed significantly (57% in 2014 and 59% in 2015). Among 18-24 year olds, the figure is 73%; and among those aged 65+, 48%.

ComRes interviewed 2,015 GB adults online between the 16th and 17th September 2015. Data were weighted to be representative of all GB adults aged 18+. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. The data tables are available on request. The survey and data table can also be found at www.comres.co.uk.

Environment

4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again

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reuse reduce recycle plastic bottles etc
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Vanatchanan | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/vanatchanan%20buahom

As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.

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Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.

Jars and Containers

Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.

Soda Bottles

An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.

Plastic Bags

Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!

Seeds

If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!

Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!

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Environment

These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money

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eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/cyano

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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