8th Aug 2022

Brussels launches DIY climate change project

  • Environmentalist said Mr Barroso is a hypocrite for driving a massive 4X4 car (Photo: European Commission)

The European Commission launched a new campaign on Monday (29 May) to convince people their little daily routines can have a big impact on climate change.

Called "You control climate change," the initiative challenges people to make small changes in daily habits in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said the project "makes clear to what extent we are all responsible for climate change and what individuals can and need to do to limit this threat."

Environment commissioner Stavros Dimas said "People may say that their individual behaviour does not matter. I say – on the contrary. Households in the EU count for a large part of the EU's total greenhouse gas emissions."

The campaign calls on people to "Turn down. Switch off. Recycle. Walk" and gives more than 50 tips on how to emit less CO2.

The tips include using a fan instead of air-conditioning and walking or cycling to work instead of going by car.

Friends of the Earth spokesman Jan Kowalzij quickly criticized Mr Barroso for "hypocrisy," when it comes to the new project however.

"Mr Barroso is on one hand calling on people to change their behaviour on climate change but at the same time he is driving a monster 4X4 car which is one of the worst fuel consumers on the street," he said.

"If you replace your car, consider the fuel economy of your new vehicle," is one of the commission's suggestions.

"We also criticize Mr Barroso for failing to set Europe on a climate-friendly development path that would ensure long term emissions reductions we urgently need," the green group spokesman added.

Mr Kowalzij acknowledged the fact that people need to change their habits, but said governments cannot abdicate environmental responsibility under the popular banner.

Household consumption

Statistics released by the European Commission show that households use 26 percent of all energy consumed in the EU.

Seventy percent of this is used for heating, 14 percent for heating water and 12 percent on lighting and other electric appliances.

Private car use is responsible for around 10 percent of EU greenhouse emissions, while recycling can have a major impact on energy use.

Recycling aluminium requires ten times less energy than producing it from raw materials the commission figures show.

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