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How's your Awareness?

The most obvious point to make is that the money was wasted. Interest in the issue has waned - while we can't measure how "empowered" people now feel, attitudes certainly have been modified, but not to the sponsors liking.

Secondly, critics surely have a point when they argue that this is political spending, and not educational. All the money was directed to achieve top-down policy goals. The subtleties of climate science were not explained, and all the effort was directed at one particular "solution" to climate change - the one the sponsors wanted.

But in doing so, it's created a feedback loop. Last year Energy Minister Ed Miliband called for activists to get "active" in the run up to the Copenhagen summit, arguing that "there’s a real opportunity and a need here" for a populist mass movement. It was met with indifference, as climate change ranks low on voters concerns, and even ranks low down on lists of voters' environmental concerns.

Apart from a handful of well-heeled campaigners, the only grass roots campaigners who emerged were ones he'd paid to be there.

The terms 'vested interests' often crops up in climate debates. But what this fascinating document shows, is that the vested interests are much broader (if shallower) than many people suppose. A little money means a lot to a volunteer-run community radio station like Wythenshawe FM, one of the beneficiaries of DEFRA's cash splurge. So the availability of easy money for Climate issues mean a lot of people have a finger in the pie. That's something to bear in mind when you next read a blog comment. Try asking the poster: what's in it for you? ®

Download the list here, and a provisional evaluation of the effectiveness of the Fund, prepared for DEFRA by outside consultants, here.®

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