£7m global warming campaign 'ineffective'

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A £7m Government publicity drive to get the public to "do its bit" to reduce greenhouse gases and prevent global warming was attacked as ineffective yesterday by a Commons select committee of MPs.

A £7m Government publicity drive to get the public to "do its bit" to reduce greenhouse gases and prevent global warming was attacked as ineffective yesterday by a Commons select committee of MPs.

The environment committee said that the Government relaunched the "Are you doing your bit?" scheme last year with a £7m annual budget, but most people had never heard of it. Urging the Government to try a new tack, the MPs said people needed to feel they could contribute to real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The MPs provided a list of things that most people could do, including turning down heating thermostats by 1C,which could save £30 annually on heating bills and cut carbon emissions, and setting hot water cylinder thermostats at 60C to make similar savings. Other measures include installing cavity-wall insulation, condensing boilers or loft insulation. Turning out the lights on leaving a room - one quarter of all electricity used is for lighting - could save around £5 a year, but also reduce carbon emissions.

The MPs said servicing cars regularly might also help, with a serviced car using up to five per cent less fuel, while driving at 50mph instead of 70 mph might cut fuel consumption by 25 per cent.

The committee had a message for the Chancellor in today's Budget to provide greater incentives for the purchase of fuel-efficient cars and a system for removing old inefficient vehicles.It said the increases in fuel duty would only be accepted if they were linked directly to investment in transport users.

The MPs also warned that Government policies to reduce greenhouse gases must not have "an excessive cost" to the economy and to industry.

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