For many across the UK, the devastating flooding that has battered northern England over the last month has been an unwelcome taste of how climate change threatens livelihoods not just on remote Pacific islands, but in communities up and down the UK.
But while the flooding may have caused a spike in awareness of climate risks in recent weeks, confusion remains over climate issues, with many uncertain where the bulk of the UK’s carbon emissions come from and what can be done to tackle them.
A new YouGov poll, commissioned by WWF and released last week, questioned 104 MPs, more than 1,700 members of the public and 265 large UK businesses in an attempt to take the pulse of the nation on climate issues.
It provides a revealing snapshot into the concerns – and confusion – felt by many about climate change.
More than 37 per cent of the UK public believe the recent floods are a result of climate change, according to the poll – a view echoed by leaders of the UK’s main political parties last month, albeit with the caveat that no single weather event can be simply linked to changing climate trends.
Perhaps as a result of this rising awareness, the poll reveals a strong public desire for greater climate action from government, with 44 per cent of people agreeing the government is doing too little to reduce its carbon emissions, while just eight per cent think it is doing too much.
This sentiment is matched by large businesses, with 40 per cent of firms employing more than 250 people believing more should be done to cut the UK’s carbon emissions. In contrast, just 12 per cent of businesses say government is doing too much to cut emissions.
Even among lawmakers, half of MPs believe the government should be doing more to cut the UK’s carbon emissions, while just 12 per cent believe too much is being done. However, the poll reveals a stark difference between Conservative and Labour attitudes towards the issue. A staggering 96 per cent of Labour MPs say the government is doing too little to tackle emissions, while just 10 per cent of Conservative MPs feel the same.
However, this broad desire for stronger action on climate change is not matched by an in-depth understanding of the UK’s energy system. The poll reveals public confusion over the cost of energy from different sources – for example, 20 per cent of the UK public believe nuclear is the cheapest form of energy generation, when in reality it is one of the most expensive. Many also think offshore wind is cheaper than onshore wind – when the reverse is true.
Emma Pinchbeck, head of climate and energy at WWF, said the lack of public understanding is a result of unclear messages from government. “Despite clear support for ambitious action, the polling shows that people do not understand what such action entails,” she said. “It is particularly striking that incorrect views – such as thinking that nuclear offers good value for money – reflect government messaging. This shows the need for informed and accurate public debate.”
MPs were better informed than the general public when assessing carbon emissions by sector, with 68 per cent placing power generation as the prime emitter of carbon dioxide, compared to 38 per cent of the general public. However, emissions generated by buildings (both commercial and residential) were underestimated by both MPs and members of the public.
This misconception could become a problem for the government as it looks to meet emission reduction targets over the next Parliament, according to Pinchbeck. “Neither MPs nor the public identified the big role that their homes and business play in UK emissions,” she said. “This should worry the government when we are missing our targets for reducing demand – and we know this is undermining our ability to meet climate change targets. A national drive on energy efficiency would help raise awareness of cheap solutions that will cut bills and help save the planet.”
It seems that while appetite for action on climate change grows ever stronger, much of the UK – public and MPs alike – is still getting to grips with how best to cut emissions and strengthen low-carbon energy generation in the most cost-efficient way. As the flood waters slowly drain away across Britain and the clean-up gets underway, the New Year may also prove to be a good time for a national effort to clear up confusion around climate change.
Source: Climate Change
Electric Avenue is abuzz at CES 2016 this week about the 2017 Chevy Bolt. GM Chief Engineer for Electrified Vehicles, Pamela Fletcher, talks with John McElroy about the upcoming Chevrolet Bolt EV and how the company believes it has cracked the EV code. Not only does the Bolt have a 200-mile range and a price around $30,000, but it has has plenty of interior space and was designed for both personal and shared use. Car Sharing is one of the hot topics at CES, and the Bolt features easy connectivity for multiple users.
Watch the video below and share your thoughts on the latest EV.
Awesome new graphic from CustomMade that takes an in-depth look at the growing global water footprint and provides ideas on how we can cut back on our individual water consumption to help sustain this valuable resource for future generations.
The average American lifestyle requires about 2,000 gallons of water every day. Fresh water consumption has doubled since World War II and is expected to rise 25% by 2030. All of this water use takes a toll on the planet and can create water scarcity which effects up to 2.8 billion people around the world at least one month out of the year. Explore ways you can reduce your water footprint in your home.
Reducing our Water Footprint
Dual flush toilets, turning off the tap while scrubbing dishes, and using a rain barrel to collect outdoor water are all great ways to reduce your water footprint. There are many simple changes you can make in your day to day life that can positively impact your water use and lessen the effects of water scarcity.
Two beekeepers in Australia, Cedar Anderson and Stuart Anderson, have invented a new sort of hive that could revolutionize Beekeeping traditional methods. They have invented the FLOWHive, a special hive that can put your honey “on tap” directly from your hive box. It’s main benefit being that it can pour honey out of the combs without upsetting the bees. The FLOWhive contains special inserts that will fit into normal hives or, if you get the whole FLOWhive system, you will have their special wooden outer box complete with windows and access points that will ensure you know exactly when to harvest the honey and have a full supply as soon as it is ready to go.
There are a lot of skeptics in their beekeeping community who say it is unlikely to work without a lot of mess and cleanup needed. Some comment in the beekeeping forums that they would rather wait and see before jumping to buy this sort of invention.
The key to the system is a special imitation of the traditional comb that splits apart when you turn the tap on the back of the hive. The inventors say that they can get their honey without the bees even noticing that they are there. The stress on the bees is greatly reduced and the work of harvesting honey is made super easy and simple.
The video on you tube shows an appealing looking box with two spouts on the back that literally pour the honey out like beer on tap. The rest of the requirements of beekeeping apply as per usual; it is only the method of harvesting that is affected. So beginner beekeepers will still need to learn all the basics of maintaining a healthy hive. It’s a wonder that this hasn’t already been invented years ago!
The Andersons are putting their invention on Indiegogo on Feb 23 2015 and hope that people with support them in their quest to build a manufacturing production line for their FLOWhive to be shipped around the world. They ask that you go to their Facebook page and watch the video and click “like” if you like their idea. The buzz needs to get out there – if this invention works as claimed then I will be in line to get one for sure. It’s a great idea and worth checking out. They have a video that shows their hive in action and also a website with a FAQ to answer all the basic questions about the different configurations of their products. It is homey yet professional and I am sure if they are successful with their Indiegogo crowd funding they will be on the road to a business boon for beekeeping. They have over 88 thousand likes on their facebook page already so it seems the support is likely to be there. Who wouldn’t want fresh honey on tap?
There is no shortage of articles, books and videos about ‘How to Go Viral,” but what do you do when your little hobby turns into a an instant viral sensation? Sonia, from Tasmania, loved dolls as a kid and now, as an adult, discovered the pleasure of recycling old, discarded dolls and giving them a natural makeover. In that fertile soil of playful creativity and simple frugality, a seedling of a company grew. Tree Change Dolls had only 12 dolls, but a few clever photos and a healthy dose of shares resulted in a viral forest.
Sonia started out by de-glamourizing some used Bratz dolls (removed their makeup) and turned to her knitting genius mother to create some the simple custom fashions. This little kitchen table hobby soon turned into an internet maelstrom of cheers for this lone mum from down-under who accomplished what the big dollmakers like MGA Entertainment (makers of the hyper-sexualized Bratz dolls) seem to have missed. Girls love dolls that actually look like real people. Watch this well-done video that may just set the doll kingdom on its tiny plastic head. Best of luck to Sonia and her new company, Tree Change Dolls as she grows a business that makes a difference.