Belgians 'unaware' of own role in climate change

20th December 2005, Comments 0 comments

20 December 2005, BRUSSELS — Belgians are conscious of the problems of climate change and of the urgent need to take action, but they have little knowledge of the possibilities and their own role, a new study has indicated.

20 December 2005

BRUSSELS — Belgians are conscious of the problems of climate change and of the urgent need to take action, but they have little knowledge of the possibilities and their own role, a new study has indicated.

Commissioned by Federal Environment Minister Bruno Tobback, the study saw 1,500 Belgians respond to written questions in September and October about the Kyoto Protocol, the cause of climate change, the measures needing to be taken and the public's role. 

The study indicated that in general, Belgian nationals are aware of what the causes of climate change are. There was very little difference between low and high-educated survey participants.

However, there were also respondents who tried to link the Kyoto Protocol to the destruction of the ozone layer and acid rain, newspaper 'De Standaard' reported on Tuesday.

Belgians based their knowledge primarily on independent scientists and environmental associations. The media and politicians were considered less reliable.

"The employer association will not want to hear it, but Belgians see the emissions from industry as the main cause" of the greenhouse effect, Minister Tobback said. Trucks and cars figured as the second main cause.

Household electricity use and heating scored relatively low when survey respondents listed the causes of the greenhouse effect. However, households are playing an increasingly important role in the problem of climate change.

The indirect impact of climate change was also less widely known; such as the fact that primarily developing countries will be hardest hit.

A large percentage of Belgians said the effects of global change will be noticeable in Belgium and 66 percent said "immediate and urgent measures" are necessary.

Almost the same amount think that industry should strive the hardest to reduce emissions, while households were ranked 4th.
 
Minister Tobback said despite the fact the public is aware of what needs to happen, they still believe that others should be taking action and are less than convinced with what they can do individually.
 
However, the public has started showing signs of energy saving behaviour, such as buying low-energy light bulbs and increased use of insulation. That is possibly due to the impact of information campaigns.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news

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