Don't Play Guilt Card, Environmentalists Told

Green campaigners and politicians must stop making people feel guilty if they want to change attitudes to action on climate change, Britain's Science and Innovation Minister said Wednesday.

Pessimistic messages about the personal sacrifices required to cut carbon emissions could alienate those whose support was essential to tackling the issue, Lord Drayson told The Times.

The austere rhetoric of environmentalists who lectured people for excessive driving or flying had convinced many that reducing the size of their carbon footprint was too much like hard work, he said. The prospect of a lower quality of life was unattractive.

"Less emphasis on telling people they have to stop doing many of the things they like -- an almost puritanical argument that, for climate change to be addressed, growth has to stop and our quality of life has to decline. I don't accept that. More importantly, it won't work."

Lord Drayson, speaking at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival , wants scientists, environmentalists and politicians to explain that many aspects of a greener lifestyle involve just small changes, come with few costs and might even save money.

Improvements to energy efficiency, such as home insulation, could help to lower carbon emissions -- and reduce heating and electricity costs, he said. People were also very willing to take practical environmental steps, such as recycling garbage, when they had the facilities to do so.

• Click here to read the rest of this story in the Times of London.