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Our View: Who will pay price for reducing our carbon footprint?

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Sometimes it’s hard to know if the pollsters in Brussels actually believe the things they hear from the people they survey in member states from time to time, or whether the answers they get help fulfil some kind of utopian vision, so they just accept them.

Either that – in the case of Cyprus, they’re polling people who feel they ‘must say the right thing’ when asked questions relating to the cause du jour – or they have somehow hit the jackpot and managed to poll the small minority who have genuinely taken up the cause of the survey.

Reading that two thirds (68 per cent) of respondents in Cyprus are prepared to pay 10 per cent more for agricultural products that are produced in a way that limits their carbon footprint, is a case in point. According to the poll, the figure puts the island above the EU27 average of 60 per cent that care about carbon footprints.

Looking at reality, this is hard to swallow. Joe Bloggs does not care about his carbon footprint especially at a time of rising inflation and is not going to want to pay more for his fruit and veg just to save the planet. There is probably a minority of ‘right minded’ people who would be prepared to pay more but most likely they are people who can afford it.

Witness the current outcry over fuel prices. Even deputies who are putting pressure on the government do not dare tell the plebs to use the bus and cut back on fuel consumption. Granted, public transport falls very short, but how many people would be willing to suffer it to cut their carbon footprint? Who will make that sacrifice at the cost of convenience?

Would even the ‘right-minded’ people, who harp on about carbon footprints, be willing to give up their cars, smartphones or laptops, all of which contain animal products and have a high carbon footprint, as do sugar, fabric softener and even condoms?

We would have thought, at least after all these years of droughts and shortages, the general population would be more aware of the island’s issues with water, but no. On Kataklysmos day, Cyprus Mail photos from one solitary village showed a ‘street fight’ with water. Hundreds of water balloons were visible in a giant container and hoses were set up like water cannons on either side of the street. Thousands of litres of water must have been wasted. This village is only a 20-minute drive from the nearest beach but why be inconvenienced by going to splash around in the sea?

Why are cafe chains patting themselves on the back for getting rid of plastic straws but give drinks in giant plastic cups with plastic lids while customers sit around sucking on soggy paper telling themselves they’re doing their bit?

So, to the Eurobarometer people in Brussels, for now at least, we do not see two thirds of people in Cyprus prepared to pay more for any reason and much less so to reduce their carbon footprint.

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