MPs urge Govt to work harder on climate change awareness ads

The Government’s pounds 7 million drive to urge the public to combat climate change was branded a failure this week by an influential group of MPs.

The Government’s pounds 7 million drive to urge the public to

combat climate change was branded a failure this week by an influential

group of MPs.



They urged ministers to boost the budget and to run a high-profile

campaign showing how simple actions such as switching off lights when

they leave a room could cut carbon emissions.



The Labour-dominated Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Select

Committee warned that campaigns such as Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO’s ’Are

you doing your bit?’ last year would fail. ’In many cases, their

profiles are low and their messages ineffective, largely as a result of

inadequate funding,’ its report said. ’A sophisticated, targeted

approach is required to change people’s behaviour along with a much

greater commitment from the Government to doing its bit.’



The MPs said that the ad campaign had been undermined by press reports

revealing the environmentally damaging behaviour of government

departments and ministers. Opinion polls found that environmental public

awareness was very low.



Jill Johnstone, the National Consumer Council’s head of policy, said:

’Consumers are getting too many conflicting messages from too many

sources.



They can’t pick up what the big issues are. Much of our research has

found that people are concerned about air pollution and toxic waste but

they find it difficult to deal with climate change.’



Andrew Bennett, the committee’s Labour chairman, admitted that none of

its members had heard about the campaign until it was mentioned by a

witness to its inquiry into the UK’s climate change programme.



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