As world leaders gather in Glasgow for COP26 to discuss what the UN claims is an impending “climate catastrophe” a reminder that in June we tested opinion of Conservative Party members regarding the environment and global warming.
A big majority of respondents to our survey agreed that climate change is happening. A majority of them (and just under 50 per cent of all respondents) agree that human activity is driving it.
However, there was considerable scepticism about an alarmist response. When asked if there is a ‘Climate Emergency’, we found more than two to one concluded that there was not. That finding was consistent with an earlier survey that we conducted.
So far as the Government self-imposed Net Zero target just under 47 per cent of party members think the Government “is not on track” to hit the 2050 deadline, versus fewer than 24 per cent who believe it will (fewer than the just under 30 per cent who “don’t know”).
Perhaps unsurprisingly when it comes to solutions there is greater enthusiasm for market innovation than state restriction as the means to reduce carbon emissions. That would seem a reasonable conclusion given the strong support for fracking in an earlier survey. Even when the Conservative Manifesto support for a moratorium was highlighted over half our respondents considered that ban was not justified by the evidence and that shale development should be allowed to proceed.
Only a few Conservative MPs have challenged the establishment consensus on climate change. But many Conservative Party members do retain doubts – at least on the more apocalyptic declarations about the issue and on how realistic the Government’s proposed response is.