Paper: Those Most Concerned About Global Warming Use MORE Energy

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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People who fret about global warming use more electricity than those who care little about the issue, a U.K. study found.

The findings are based on the Household Electricity Survey, which studied the energy use of 250 people, some of whom fear global warming and some who don’t see climate change as a particularly pertinent issue. The survey was commissioned by the U.K.’s Department for Energy and Climate Change and conducted by researchers at Loughborough University and Cambridge Architectural Research.

Researchers believe the results can be explained by an age gap between the participants, as the study’s older participants — those over 65 — are more skeptical of global warming, more frugal and thus less likely to use electricity.

The participants were asked if they agreed or disagreed that global warming is too far out on the horizon to really scare them.

“Taken together the householders who strongly agreed they were not worried about climate change because it was too far in the future in fact used less electricity rather than more, counter to the hypothesis that households concerned about climate change use less electricity,” the survey says.

Researchers also found claims of turning off radios, TVs, and lights when not in use was largely inflated. In other words, those who kvetch about global warming and energy use typically don’t do much to conserve electricity.

From the researchers: “There is some link between households’ stated behavior towards switching off unused appliances and electricity use, but there is seldom a statistically significant relationship between stated and actual behaviour.”

This means that people tend to inflate their views on conserving energy, making the job of crafting energy policies that much more difficult.

Conservative members of the U.K.’s Commons Energy and Climate Change committee say the survey shows the hypocritical nature of global warming activists.

“The survey exposes the hypocrisy of many who claim to be ‘green’: the greater the concern people express about global warming the less they do to reduce their energy usage,” Peter Lilley, a Conservative British Parliament member, told reporters.

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