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Together we’ll succeed, but only if we tell the truth

together88.jpegCongratulations to Together, the climate campaign (in fact “the UK’s biggest climate campaign”) which aims to show us all how we can do our bit to save the planet by installing energy-saving lightbulbs and running the washing machine at 30 degrees….and a few other things as well.

Anyway, it’s a year since the campaign was launched with the blessing of Tony Blair (remember him?), and it will be celebrating its first birthday on Tuesday with a conference at Lambeth Palace, and speeches from the great and the good including the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The campaign will also be launching its new Savers Guide to help us all on our way to green living, and is keen to point out that not only can we reduce our carbon emissions by up to 3 tonnes a year, but we can also cut our households bills. So everyone’s a winner, right?

As it says: “In just a year, voluntary corporate efforts pledged under the campaign have helped British consumers save half a million tonnes of CO2 (equivalent to taking 195,000 family cars off the road for a year) and over £100million pounds on household bills.”

While this is to be applauded, Greenbang wonders about some of the figures the campaign uses to justify its claims.

For instance, it reckons that choosing to go from Newcastle to London by train would save you £153, compared with going by car, and also save 70kg of carbon emissions. No quarrels with the carbon emissions, but where do they get that money saving from?

Their answer is as follows: “CO2 savings based on Defra passenger transport conversion factors, and cost savings based on standing charges and running costs for an average petrol car (AA) versus an advanced single train fare (National Express East Coast).”

Hmm. So they assume you’re travelling alone in the car, and you book your train ticket ages ahead in order to get the very best fare. Well, OK, in that case you can justify the claims. But if campaigns like Together are going to make a more convincing and credible case, Greenbang would humbly request some rather more realistic comparisons. Or campaign to get our sky-high train fares reduced….we’d support that.

We attach the Saving Guide anyway, for you to judge.

1 Comment

  • Peter
    Posted May 13, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    I think I joined a while ago, but have done again, thanks to this reminder ( I wonder if that gets counted twice, too).

    I have no real problem with such efforts, so long as I don’t have to pay for them, but (actually I do have a problem) not if they divert good money into yet more bl**dy awareness and luvvie-fests instead of tangibles.

    Hardly a day goes by without me getting an email from one or other of the league of countless climate campaigns (of which this is, I am sure, ‘a’ noble member, if not perhaps the only one). Getting a bit like food labelling schemes; tick a lot of boxes, lovely PR, oodles of meetings… but pretty much sailing past the consumer and sod all use or different to making the planet future friendly (whoops, that’s another campaign, isn’t it? Same sponsors overlapping or competing I wonder?).

    I’m just wondering if the pledges on this site get counted twice on all the other sites I pledge on? Is there a discount for quantity? Or maybe a multiplier to get the targets really up there so the bonuses kick in. I think I need one of those online jobbies you get to manage all the social networking sites you join and then ignore.

    Speaking of figures and claims (elevated for ’emerging truths’ or not), is there any indication as to how much money is going on a board, staff, admin. and PR (got to get your logos in there somehow to make those pledges worthwhile) and jollies and stuff, and how much goes on actual, ‘making the planet better in any way tangibly’?

    I guess anyone lucky enough to be in London and gets invited to the big bash might ask when they are there. Or not. Shame to spoil a party. I’m guessing the whole thing will be offset and the canapes locally-sourced and such… which will then be PR’d for all the mere mortals to see how the other half in the VIP’s only Green rooms really ‘do’ the environment.

    There is useful info, to be sure. But it seems an awful of of folk are now overlapping, and spending an awful lot of money to tell us about installing energy-saving lightbulbs and running the washing machine at 30 degrees. I mean, what about the cutting edge stuff… don’t take baths, walk or cycle… and turn down the thermo and wear a woolly. There should be a ‘drive your car more effectively’ advisor (£35k plus pension) in every county, on top of all the driving instructors and testers and stuff, natch.

    Anyway, I just had a PR that says WRAP has signed up, so that’s a sign that it must be in the super-quango league now, which must be nice.

    Along, as you say, with… well, if not truth… at least a bit of a gander in the mirror once in the while.

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