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Britons hasten global warming

British people waste more energy than the inhabitants of any other major Western European nation, hastening climate change and adding £2.5bn to annual fuel bills, according to research by the Energy Saving Trust. A poll of 5,000 Europeans found the average Briton admitted to 32 bad habits such as leaving lights on in empty rooms, leaving appliances on standby, boiling more water than needed in a kettle, using the car for short journeys, washing clothes at too high a temperature and leaving the central heating on.

In interviews last month released for the start of Energy Efficiency Week today, Germans admitted to having 14 energy wasting habits, the Spanish 16, the French 19 and the Italians 25. By contrast, the UK was revealed to be a nation of “standby junkies”, with 71 per cent rarely if ever switching off televisions, DVD players, computers and other electrical appliances.

Two-thirds of people boiled surplus water in kettles, and 65 per cent left mobile phone and other chargers needlessly plugged in to the mains. Two-thirds left lights on in empty rooms.

Householders could save £11bn in fuel bills by 2010 by eliminating the waste as well as prevent the release into the atmosphere of 43 million ton of carbon dioxide, estimated the EST. It calculated the unnecessary carbon dioxide was equivalent to the annual emissions of 7 million homes.

Scientists believe climate change caused by greenhouse gases has been behind extreme weather in recent years, such as Hurricane Katrina last year.

Britain’s bad habits

71% leave appliances on standby

67% boil more water than needed in kettles

65% leave chargers plugged in

63% don’t turn off lights in empty rooms

48% use the car for short journeys

44% wash clothes at 60F

32% leave the engine running while the car is stationary

32% use the tumble dryer when the washing line could be used

28% have the central heating on in an empty house

22% turn up the thermostat instead of reaching for a jumper

Article by Martin Hickman for The Independent

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