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Downing Street and Whitehall street signs in Westminster, London
Credit: Pres Panayotov/Shutterstock
UK POLICY
26 January 2015 16:55

Survey shows partisan split among MPs on climate and energy issues

Mat Hope

Mat Hope

01.26.15
Mat Hope

Mat Hope

26.01.2015 | 4:55pm
UK policySurvey shows partisan split among MPs on climate and energy issues

With one hundred days to go until the election, analysts are eagerly looking for ways to differentiate between the parties. New data suggests MPs’ views on energy and climate change could do just that.

Political analysts Dods asked 100 MPs what they thought about the scientific consensus around climate change and their energy preferences. Here’s what they had to say.

Climate change

A large majority of the MPs surveyed, 72 out of 100, said they thought more than 75 per cent of scientists attributed climate change mainly to human activities. It was by far the most common answer for MPs from all the parties.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 16.15.24.png
Source: Dods Energy Preference Briefing. Graph by Carbon Brief.

Of those MPs that said they thought 50 per cent or less of the scientific community attributed climate change mainly to human activity, 10 were Conservatives, and five were Labour MPs.

No Liberal Democrats or MPs from other parties said they thought that less than half of scientists attributed climate change to humans.

Wind versus shale gas

The most striking partisan difference appeared when the MPs were asked about which energy source they thought their constituents preferred. Broadly speaking, Conservatives MPs expected their constituents to prefer shale gas, while Labour MPs expected a preference for wind power.

Dods asked MPs whether their constituents would prefer wind, solar, nuclear or shale sites within two miles of their home. The MPs then ranked the technologies in order of what they thought they constituents would prefer.

60 per cent of the Conservative MPs ranked shale gas either first or second. A majority of MPs from all the other parties ranked it third.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 16.22.54.png
Source: Dods Energy Preference Briefing. Graph by Carbon Brief.

In contrast, 90 per cent of Labour MPs ranked wind power first or second. Less than a third of Conservative MPs did likewise.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 16.23.09.png
Source: Dods Energy Preference Briefing. Graph by Carbon Brief.

Caution

So the Dods survey seems to show there is a difference between the parties in terms of their views on energy issues. A note of caution should be sounded about reading too much into the data, however.

Dods only canvassed 100 MPs, so there’s a good chance their views don’t represent those of the whole party. The data is particularly weak for the Liberal Democrats, with only nine MPs participating, and minor parties, represented in the survey by only five MPs.

The parties’ views on energy and climate issues are likely to crystallise in other ways as the election draws near. Carbon Brief will keep you updated as and when announcements are made, so keep watching.

Main image: Downing Street and Whitehall street signs in Westminster, London.
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