Main party leaders not trusted by sustainability professionals on climate change

More than half of sustainability professionals feel that Natalie Bennett of the Green Party shows the strongest leadership on climate change, streets ahead of Cameron, Clegg and Miliband, according to a new survey.

The figures come from a recent poll of 833 industry professionals by the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA). The Conservative, Lib Dem and Labour leaders earned just 23% of the vote combined, despite signing that cross-party climate agreement on Valentines Day

Labour’s Ed Miliband ranked last with just 6% of the vote, closely followed by Nick Clegg with 7%. Prime Minister David Cameron received 10% of the vote, while around 20% of respondents said they ‘don’t know’.

Cold-button issue

A lack of information was cited as the main reason for a ‘don’t know’ selection, highlighting the relatively short thrift that climate change has been granted as an issue ahead of the election.

Nearly 40% of ‘don’t-know’ voters said their selection was because they doubted the ability of any party leaders to follow through on a climate change commitment.

“Recent pledges from the main party leaders are welcome signs of intent, but clearly professionals working on the receiving end of past Government policy are not fully convinced,” said IEMA lead on climate change Nick Blyth.

“IEMA will look to engage constructively with the next Government, working with our members to present critical evidence and experience from front line climate change professionals.”

Energy transition

Concerning the UK’s future energy mix, 66% said they do not believe that gas derived from fracking in the UK has a role to play as a “strategic transition fuel”. Instead, over 72% of those said that the next Government should prioritise investment in energy conservation schemes.

The respondents also showed overwhelming support for increased funding for a mix of renewable and alternative energy schemes in order to address any potential short- to medium-term energy gaps.

Decc figures released yesterday revealed that UK energy consumption continued its downward trend this century, while low-carbon technologies are increasing their share of the UK’s electricity supply.

Brad Allen

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie