UK Government Study: Greens use more electricity than skeptics

Story submitted by Eric Worrall

A UK government study has concluded that people concerned about global warming, on average, use more electricity than climate skeptics.

Some highlights from the study follow.

On the “benefits” of switching off appliances;

“There is some link between households’ stated behaviour towards switching off unused appliances and electricity use, but there is seldom a statistically significant relationship (p-value 0.05 or less) between stated and actual behaviour. This means that policy-makers cannot rely on stated behaviours alone in assessing how often householders turn off unused TVs and desktop computers, or how much hot water they use for showers.”

On the (inverse!) correlation between environmental belief and energy use;

“Taken all together, householders who strongly agreed they were not worried about climate change because it was too far in the future in fact used less electricity rather than more, counter to the hypothesis that households concerned about climate change use less electricity.”

The study noted however that this was largely due to the fact most climate skeptics were older and poorer than people who expressed strong feelings about green issues.

“However, we found this was largely due to the effect of age, as older households were much more likely to agree with this statement, and also had lower energy consumption.”

Peter Lilley, a Conservative member of the Commons Energy and Climate Change committee, said:

“The survey exposes the hypocrisy of many who claim to be ‘green’: the greater the concern people express about global warming the less they do to reduce their energy usage.”

The study is available here:



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What a great story of hypocrisy! Thanks for this.
However, the story I really want to see is about a study of the drinking habits of alarmists vs skeptics. That would be interesting! (I bet the alarmists drink more since the news is all bad for them most of the time)

Another Graeme

For some time I have been pondering the irony of young green things with their xboxes, i phones, android tablets etc tellingme I need to use less electricity ti save the planet.

The word is hypocrisy. Do as I say, not as I do. Algore is famous for that.

Another Graeme

“telling me”…….”to save” .Proof before posting numbskull.

Bloke down the pub

So they want to install smart meters in every home so that the punters will no longer have a choice in when they switch off their appliances.

Mr Black

This makes perfect sense. Those who read AceofSpades might recall a piece that Ace did a while ago regarding climate change belief as a sort of social indicator of “right thinking”. It seems entirely consistent with that idea that the more people talk about it publicly and the more they profess to worry about it, the less need they feel to take any actual responsibility. Having positioned themselves as Good Citizens they are absolved from the suffering that actually following through would inflict on them.


I have spent most of my adult life working in HVAC and energy. I wish i could say I was even a little bit surprised by this.


In much the same way that the most hardline religious people tend to be the least moral. Having the “correct” ideology is often felt to be enough.

Reblogged this on Cornwall Wind Watch and commented:
they certainly produce more hot air.


Think of all the Greenpeace executives flying to work, etc.
Think of all the Hollywood Greens jetting around saving the planet
Think of Jim Hansen flying first class with his wife around the world to give talks on CO2 emissions
Think of Al Gore’s mansion and all the power it consumes and his crusier withall the fuel it uses
There is no hypocrisy if you are savng the planet. All people are equal but Greenies are more equal than others!
Is it only me who thinks that the pigs in Animal Farmseem a fitting comparson to the Greens?

Chris Wright

I would characterise myself as a strong sceptic, but I’m quite frugal: I don’t use a car, I use a bike and I normally have just a single 60 watt bulb on. The only time I put all my lights on is to celebrate Earth Hour.
A close acquaintance of mine is a true global warming believer. When I visit, pretty well all the lights are on all the time, and very often the central heating is turned up so high that I find it very uncomfortable.
Go figure, as you Americans like to say!


To be fair, you’d want to compare energy usage of ‘greens’ with their demographic peers before claiming hypocrisy. If the big correlation is between energy use and age (or income), that effect could easily swamp real differences based on ideology.
We’re very eager to jump all over flawed analyses – we shouldn’t commit the same mistakes ourselves.


Feeling is far more important than doing……easier too.

Gerry, England

Nobody can do hypocrisy like lefties. Gore leads from the front with his energy-guzzling life-style of global preaching. And recall all the anti-capitalism demos with protestors clutching their iphones, starbucks coffee and wearing Timberland. ‘Yeah, big companies, what have they ever done for us?’
I can understand that the older members of the population use less energy as on their incomes they can’t afford the green-tax hiked energy bills so have to economise.
The great ‘smart’ meter project has hit a few snags. Unresolved questions over security of access to the system. The so-called selling point of seeing your consumption with the handy gadget fails in blocks of flats where the meters are located in the basement – the signal won’t go through the floors. In rural areas there is no signal to transmit the data. It is going to be optional but would become compulsory once critical mass is achieved. And finally, the great projected cost savings don’t add up either as the novelty of the handy gadget wears off after a few months. I know, I have a couple of the electricity readers and don’t bother with either any more.


pbft – Demographics be damned. One who vocally endorses a green lifestyle should educate themself and consume less than the most energy effficient non-supporter regardless of demographics. Otherwise they should just shut up and sit down.


“who strongly agreed they were not worried about climate change because it was too far in the future”
I’m not worried about climate change, but it has nothing to do with the timescale.


I put the Telegraph link to this in WUWT “tips and notes” yesterday.

Coach Springer

Elmer Gantry’s Theory of Special Relativity: The more special you think your insight is, the more likely you are to promote and exploit it with others while ignoring it for yourself.


Old and poor = frugal.
Young and rich = wasteful.
Ideology is just decoration on simple economics and life experience.


They try and claim that the apparent hypocrisy of those most worried about climate change using more energy is because of an age issue, with older people being less worried and using less energy anyways. But read their report. Those younger than 65 who are most worried about climate change use a mean of 4700 kWh/year while those younger than 65 that are least worried about climate change use a mean of 2800 kWh/year. Even if we look at all younger than 65 worried about climate change we get 4508 kWh/year versus 3700 kWh/year for those not worried. Now the number of samples is low but how can they claim that it was the effect of those older than 65 that skewed the results?

Bruce Cobb

One should never underestimate the Greenies’ ability to absolve themselves of their “carbon sins”.

M Courtney

Gary says at July 15, 2014 at 5:38 am

Old and poor = frugal.
Young and rich = wasteful.
Ideology is just decoration on simple economics and life experience.

But I think wealth and social class more significant than age. There are fewer old fools than the young and foolish but you will find them if you look.
It would appear that being “green” requires a certain level of income. Mass produced goods are cheaper than the trendy alternative, renewable energy costs more than reliable energy and so on…
Also certain industries and services use less energy per output than others (financial services and teaching, for example, compared to steel production and forestry). People employed in those industries and services are less likely to understand about the necessity of energy production; it’s value and the human / social / economic cost of making it more expensive.

If you judge people by their “walk”, then most “green” people aren’t.


RTB says:
July 15, 2014 at 4:37 am
In much the same way that the most hardline religious people tend to be the least moral.
well, that was totally uncalled for….

M Courtney

kenw says July 15, 2014 at 6:16 am

RTB says:
July 15, 2014 at 4:37 am
In much the same way that the most hardline religious people tend to be the least moral.
well, that was totally uncalled for….

It was, wasn’t it?
Some people are just so judgemental.
But on the internet anyone can comes across as a bit bigoted.
He may be a charming bloke in person.
Let’s not throw stones.


I’m just above 40, have higher than average income, consume less than 10k kwh in total living in a 200 square meter house in sweden and I’m pretty sceptic.


A green fellow I know has an electric car, his girlfriend also has one. He also has a big 4×4 because the electric car cannot get to his cottage and carry his hiking gear. She also has a second bigger gasoline vehicle. So 4 cars!

North of 43 and south of 44

Bruce Cobb says:
July 15, 2014 at 5:53 am
JohnWho says:
July 15, 2014 at 6:10 am
Where are the like buttons?

Gary Pearse

Entitlement of this class comes to mind. Think Al Gore.


Peter –
Does this green fellow get a preferred parking space for electric at his office?

Old Huemul

The study is a classic example of a spurious statistical correlation: Y is correlated with X, but the correlation is explained by the correlation of both Y and X with Z (where Z may be one or several confounding variables). In this case, skeptical frugality may be largely explained by age, possibly income level, and perhaps some other variables such as education level. A more serious study would control for these confounding variables, which explain part of the differences in power consumption, and only then check whether or not skepticism explains by itself some of the remaining variance in electricity consumption once confounding factors are controlled for.

North of 43 and south of 44

HomeBrewer says:
July 15, 2014 at 6:24 am
I’m headed for 64 have a 250 square meter house and have used 2052 KWH so far this year, last year it was 5672 KWH. Since January 1 of this year I replaced, 6 cfls with LEDs, my TV, got rid of cable, and upgraded my PC.
Saving 130 KWH/month on average along with over $900/year net in utility costs.
There is only natural variability in climate.

Pete in Cumbria

@ Mark Stoval..
Me myself, I, having been there done that and bought the T-shirt, have pondered the alcohol link. Re: the obvious feelings of guilt, depression, slow wittedness and stubborn unwillingness to change one’s mind displayed by those who partake of a lot of alcohol.
Check out The Wiki for worldwide alcohol consumption and, with the notable exception of what was/is the USSR, some good correlation is there.
But then, read Lierre Keith’s Vegetarian Myth book and also Gabor Matte on the subject of addiction, it will dawn that folks are addicted to glucose (that’s why so many folks are getting fat) and then, what is alcohol if not semi pre digested/metabolised sugar = glucose = starch = carbohydrate.
And what is the alarmist’s favourite cure for Global Climate Change – it wouldn’t be drive to get folks to eat more carbohydrate now would it…….. Shades of the Stepford Wives perhaps?
Interesting if not slightly scary times eh not?

Pete in Cumbria

Re me at 06:58
and if, my theory that farmers, growing (annual) cereal crops are driving the rise in CO2 (and changing the readings seen on thermometers) is in any way a correct part explanation of AGW – the irony of the warmist position becomes utterly and gobsmackingly mindblowing.
PS just to be clear in my book, the rise of CO2 is a symptom of changing temps, NOT the cause.

John G.

It’s the liberal attitude on accomplishing something, the most important thing is good intentions.

Good Article. Personally, I have often noticed a disconnect between the way people think about climate change or global warming and their behavior patterns. Many seem to think that using electricity is GOOD whereas using gasoline or fossil fuels (hydrocarbons) is BAD. Yet it doesn’t seem to translate into altering their lifestyle of driving habits. When I question people about where they think the products that they use on a daily basis come from, the vast majority don’t appreciate the fact that the feedstock for most of the goods we use on a daily basis rely on hydrocarbons. My take on society and education in general is that as a society we are becoming dumb & dumber. Take away hydrocarbons and society ceases to exist.

Clovis Marcus

Who does this surprise? Look at the high profile green activists. Middle class rich kids. Is it in any way in their interest to elevate the poor from poverty? Of course not. The status quo is very comfortable for them. Why upset the applecart?
What the greens would like people to believe is that we are all energy profligates who sling rubbish in the rivers who don’t care about pollution and clean air. The fact is the green lobby is holding back provision of clean energy to the poorest for cooking and heating which is killing people every day. If there was unfettered access to gas reserves, and the same level of investment that Greenpeace puts into protesting about the wicked corporations, those people would have cheap, clean, plentiful energy.
Have a look at the green paradise of ‘free energy’ from the sun. Have a little google search for what an open cast copper mine looks like. And look at the leach water that comes off the site and the processing plants. That’s where the tellurium for solar panels comes from. I have no idea what the ratio of land ruined and solar panel coverage is (a study someone?) but to promote PV as low impact and clean is disingenuous to say the leat. Then google for pictures of a fracking site. I know which I would prefer in my neighbourhood. But the copper mines are not dug in leafy suburbia, so that’s fine.
I am a evangelically sceptical of CAGW. I also helped plant over 30,000 trees last year with a uk charity, Trees for Cities. I am also working voluntarily on the renewal of 250 acres of ancient woodland. I don’t see a conflict. I’m sure the greens do.


North of 43 and south of 44
Saved 15000 kWh/year by installing a ground heat pump and drilling a 170m deep hole in the ground.


We had a lightning induced power cut the other day, only a few minutes in length, but it knocked out the smart meter which now says please move it closer to the meter or reset it.
Think I’ll unplug it instead to save electricity ; )

Alan McIntire

“philjourdan says:
July 15, 2014 at 4:20 am
The word is hypocrisy. Do as I say, not as I do. Algore is famous for that.”
So is President Obama, flying to North Dakota, and on to Southern California, burning plenty of fossil fuel in the process, where he spoke at a graduation ceremony on the evils of global warming and burning fossil fuel.

M Courtney

Further confounding point.
Those with children in the household will use more electricity than those who don’t. They may also have a higher concern about the far end of their children’s lifetimes than those without children or grandchildren.
In short, this study is too poorly designed to be meaningful. It can justifiably mean whatever people want it to mean.

Evan Jones

Little surprise. On average, greens tend to be more affluent than skeptics.

Might have less to do with morals than with quantitative thinking and technical inclinations. The most ardent greenies are usually not the ones with thorough technical or scientific training.

Power Grab

IMHO, the whole AGW religio-political myth is a litmus test, designed to reveal who among us is willing to swear allegiance to Big Brother Government over all other authorities.

John Endicott

Didn’t really need a study to know this. Just a look at a certain ranch in Texas compared to a certain mansion in Tenn. would have told the same story.

Peter Plail

What you folks don’t understand is that the greens are using the green bit of the power and therefore their consciences are clear, It is the sceptics who are sinning by using the fossil fuel derived portion of the electricity.


The irritation is:
The Young and rich = wasteful telling the Old and poor = frugal to use even less.
There is a fair chance that the debate will collapse in the US with our next winter. If the winter of 2014-2015 is a repeat of last winter, we face a possibility of a large-scale electric grid failure in the northeast due to many coal-powered electrical plants being forced to shut down. Few will take solace that by freezing in the cold they are helping to keep temperatures from rising. If people die, those in the EPA responsible for the power plant closures should be charged with criminally neglegent homicide.



Grow lamps are not cheap, but if you have garden essentials like fresh dandelions year around for your salads it’s worth it.

Sun Spot

@RTB says:July 15, 2014 at 4:37 am
RTB Define and contextualize “most”, “hardline”, “religious” and “moral, these words have very different meanings in different cultures .
I’m unclear what you are talking about other than a meaningless opinionated anti-religious rant.