A world you like
- Published on Friday, 19 October 2012 14:35
- Written by Connie Hedegaard
Govtoday are proud to support the European Commission's new campaign entitled A world you like. With a climate you like. Editor Scott Buckler spoke with Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action to find out what the campaign hopes to achieve
What is this campaign about?
It is about creating a world that we'd all like to live in. To get that, we need to deal with the climate challenge. With this campaign we want to provide the positive vision that motivates people and put focus on the existing solutions to climate change – which need greater take-up by all of us.
Do people care at all about climate change anymore?
Yes, across Europe we see an increasing number of people getting concerned about the climate challenge. No wonder! With daily reports about record CO2 emissions, record ice melts, record droughts, record rainfalls, record food prices.
Connie with Actor Colin Firth at the Campaign Launch
Don't you think people are more pre-occupied with the economic crisis?
No, and it is not an either or. Most people realise that the climate challenge didn't disappear just because we got busy handling the economic crisis. And, yet, despite the growing awareness – many people in many countries do very little themselves to take action. Many don't even do the things that would save them time and money. One of the main points of this campaign is actually to say: We need to fix the economy AND the climate at the same time.
What is it you want people to do?
A simple example: turning down the heating by just one degree can reduce your annual bill by 5-10% and it contributes to fighting climate change. Why would people not be interested to do that? It saves them money. And it helps reduce CO2-pollution. The same goes for taking the bike to work. People in big European cities easily spend eight full days a year in their car being stuck in traffic. By taking the bike you save money. You save time. You save CO2. You even save your body around four kilos of fat per year. Seriously: what's not to like?
Connie with UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Edward Davey
How will you get the message across?
We try to make it concrete and tangible what people can do. And we show where they will actually improve their quality of life by doing the right thing for the climate. But this campaign is also about listening. If people aren't doing this already, it is perhaps because they don't yet know or because some barriers are holding them back. We need to know more about what's holding them back in order to discuss with Member States how to remove these barriers.
Will changing habits matter at all?
It DOES matter. It means the world, actually. By 2020, we could reduce CO2 pollution by an amount that corresponds to the combined annual emissions of Ireland, France, Finland, Belgium and Portugal if all 500 million Europeans changed habits in areas such as eating, shopping, transport and heating. Each day, each citizen makes a lot of choices. Whether these are sustainable or not actually matters.
Why should this campaign succeed in doing what other campaigns haven't achieved?
First of all many countries in the EU have not had that many campaigns – for instance in Southern Europe and the new member states. So we focus on these. Second, we take a new approach by working systematically with partners that help us spread the message. More than 75 organisations from all Member States had already signed up as official partners on the first day of the campaign – business associations, NGOs, universities and government institutions. And campaigns actually can change behaviour. When I was a minister we did something similar. After the campaign had run for some years, more than 90% of the population had heard of it. And more than half said it had made them change habits.
To find out more about the campaign, visit:
You can also watch success stories here