Many adults are misinformed about the state of the UK’s carbon footprint

More than half of adults think the UK's carbon footprint is worse than it was 25 years ago - when in fact it has nearly halved.

A poll of 2,000 adults found 30 per cent believe no headway has been made in making the country greener over the last quarter of a century - but 71 per cent are eager to play a part by being more sustainable.

While 58 per cent of respondents think the UK’s carbon output has increased in the last 25 years, either slightly or substantially.

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Despite this, 35 per cent are worried what they do - recycling, using public transport, and using energy efficient appliances – isn’t making much, or any, difference.

A spokesperson for EDF, which commissioned the research to mark its 25th anniversary, said: “Many of us remember the days of desktop computers and CRT TVs, but most of us don’t realise just how much progress has been made in reducing the nation’s carbon footprint since the late 1990s.

“In fact, this country has taken significant strides towards lower carbon living, and it's striking to see just how much greener many of our daily activities are now than they were 25 years ago. Many consumers are taking steps in their daily lives to save cost and carbon, but there are clearly still big concerns over the progress we’re making as a nation.”

EDF marks 25 years of UK operation by highlighting the nation's progress made in reducing carbon footprintEDF marks 25 years of UK operation by highlighting the nation's progress made in reducing carbon footprint
EDF marks 25 years of UK operation by highlighting the nation's progress made in reducing carbon footprint

Making the future sustainable

The energy company also compared the carbon intensity of doing household tasks from 1998, and their equivalent today. Figures were calculated by looking at the energy output of each item and multiplying it by the intensity of the national grid from the late 90s to now.

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It found in 1998, the carbon intensity of cooking a meal on an induction hob was 341 g/kWh, while it’s only 120 g/kWh today.

Running a fridge freezer for an hour would have racked up a carbon intensity of 938 g/kWh a quarter of a century ago, but today it would be just 183 g/kWh. Working on a laptop has dropped from 211 g/kWh to just 34 g/kWh.

The study, carried out via OnePoll, found 55 per cent said it’s very important to them that any new appliance or product in their home is energy efficient.

Despite the progress in adopting zero carbon electricity generation sources such as wind, solar and nuclear power, only one in 10 people believe this has made a major contribution to reducing the nation’s carbon footprint over the past 25 years.

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With six per cent thinking it has made no contribution at all. 

EDF’s spokesperson added: “Whilst 90s nostalgia may be trending, none of us want to see higher carbon outputs make a comeback. As Britain’s biggest generator of zero carbon electricity, we’re committed to continuing to invest in methods such as wind, solar and nuclear to help the nation reach net zero by 2050.“

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