No more greenwash, groups tell Government

20th September 2007
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The government's own quango, the Energy Saving Trust, and centre-left think-tank the Institute for Public Policy Research have accused the government of succumbing to greenwash and not making it easy for the public to understand how they can reduce CO2 emissions.

The two organisations said that although politicians, businesses and the public seemed to acknowledge the dangers of climate change, all three were simply not doing enough to tackle the problems.

'The good news is that there is now a broad concensus that climate change is real and man-made,' said Simon Retallack, head of climate change at IPPR. 'The bad news is that this concensus is still failing to inspire action.'

The accusations come on the back of a new report entitled 'Warm Words', which looks at the language used by different sections of society to describe climate change. Among the 'repertoires' or vocabularies used to talk about global warming are 'alarmism' ("Apocalypse now!"), 'techno-optimism' ("relax, it's all under control"), and 'David and Goliath' ("Flying: an obscenity").

The groups recommend that government should stop 'talking down' to the public and instead help them understand how their actions could help tackle global warming. The report suggests that the power of community groups is being undervalued, and that - contrary to the advice of policy-makers who have espoused the 'dig for victory' mentality - being told to 'do your bit' is a turn-off.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist September 2007

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