Benn champions personal action against climate change

The government is hoping to capitalise on the publicity generated by Live Earth with a new campaign urging people to act on climate change.

The latest initiative from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) encourages people to make small changes to reduce their individual carbon footprint.

A series of newspaper and television adverts will encourage people to switch to low-energy light bulbs, unplug phone chargers, dry clothes outside, use less hot water and think about their transport choices.

Launching the campaign, environment secretary Hilary Benn said 40 per cent of the UK’s emissions come from homes and travel, but too few people are making real changes to cut their energy use.

Mr Benn: “We have a really big challenge, a growing population and finite resources. We need to ensure that we only take out what we put back in.

“I hope the Act on CO2 campaign will help all of us to understand our impact on the climate and identity simple ways that we can make a difference.”

Defra research found 94 per cent of Britons agree climate change is happening and two-thirds claim to be personally taking steps to reduce their environmental impact.

But when it comes to specifics, 43 per cent are trying to reduce their energy use, 14 per cent are using less energy for heating and six per cent have cut their water usage.

The Act on CO2 promotion follows the launch of a carbon calculator. The Defra sponsored initiative uses government-recognised data to help people work out and reduce their own CO2 emissions.