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Consumers are changing their buying habits as they become aware of the effect gadgetry is having on the climate.

A survey of 1,010 adults conducted by the Energy Saving Trust found people are increasingly considering environmental impacts in their electronics purchases.

A report from the body familiarly entitled "The Rise of the Machines" said more than half want the energy efficiency labelling currently found on white goods to be extended to consumer electronics like mp3 players and laptops.

Energy Saving Trust chief executive Philip Sellwood said: "As the consumer electronics market continues to grow, further development of energy efficient products will be vital to help in the fight against climate change."

Consumer electronics currently account for 16 per cent of domestic electricity consumption and their demand is expected to double by 2010, with plasma screens eating up four times the energy of cathode ray tubes. Set-top boxes will cost £780m annually in energy by 2010 and the electricity wasted by mobile phone chargers left plugged in could power 66,000 homes for a year, the report notes.

Sellwood said: "Whether buying a fridge, MP3 player or DVD recorder, consumers should be able to make an informed choice between an efficient and inefficient model and 62 per cent say they need more advice and information about this from the retailers and manufacturers."

The survey also revealed most people are willing to pay a premium for goods which are so-called "climate-conscious", in light of increasingly extreme weather and the consensus in Europe that human CO2 emissions are to blame.

The Energy Saving Trust is a non-profit making organisation advising government and industry on how to cut energy consumption to fight global warming. It recently met with ministers and retailers at Downing Street to discuss the report's findings. The DTI is set to announce findings of a wide-ranging energy review soon, which is expected to call for a new generation of nuclear power stations as the only way to meet demand without a huge increase in carbon emissions.

Sellwood said: "Government action is needed to make sure consumers are also able to make the most informed choice when buying consumer electronics." ®

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