The poll results showing highly 'climate sceptic' views among Tory MPs (black). Note that the right-hand column showing LibDem views is barely visible. Click to enlarge. Image: PR Week / Populus.
Tory MPs: 'climate change is not man made'
Alex Benady & John Owens
15th September 2014
Seven out of ten Tory MP's think there's no proof that climate change is caused by people, and one in five thinks the idea is 'environmentalist propaganda', a new poll shows. Labour and Lib-Dem MPs are far more likely to accept climate science, but Parliament as a whole is remarkably 'climate sceptic'.
There's no reason for the laws of physics to stop at the right of centre of British politics. Climate change is real and is happening - we're all going to pay a price for our politicians' failure to take it seriously.
Only 30% of Conservative MPs accept that climate change has been proven to be caused by human activity, according to a new poll by PR Week.
The survey of 119 MPs from all parties was commissioned by the magazine from Populus to establish the attitudes of parliamentarians to climate change and environmental issues as part of a special report on the subject.
Only 51% of MPs agree that it is an established fact that global warming is largely man made, though there are substantial differences between parties.
Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Labour MPs agree that man-made global warming is now an established scientific fact compared with 30% of Tory MPs.
Over half (53%) of Conservative MPs agree with the statement that "it has not yet been conclusively proved that climate change is man made." A further 18% agree that "man-made climate change is environmentalist propaganda."
Falling off the political agenda
Climate change has fallen down the political agenda in the past five years, said half of all MPs, compared with 23% who believe the opposite.
However, 68% of all MPs believe more should be done to raise aware of environmental issues.
Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven described the findings as a "huge embarrassment" for David Cameron in the run-up to the UN climate change summit in New York later this month.
"There's virtually no scientific argument left about whether manmade climate change exists, yet two-thirds of Tory MPs are ready to ignore the science in the name of ideology", he said.
"There's no reason for the laws of physics to stop at the right of centre of British politics. Climate change is real and is happening - we're all going to pay a price for our politicians' failure to take it seriously."
What happened to Thatcher's legacy?
The minister for energy and climate change, Amber Rudd, sought to dispel the impression that the Conservatives are the party of climate change denial.
"Man-made climate change is one of the most serious threats that we face", she said.
"In 1988 Margaret Thatcher, a scientist herself, put climate change firmly on the political agenda in her speech to the Royal Society when she said: 'It's we Conservatives who are not merely friends of the earth - we are its guardians and trustees for generations to come...
"'No generation has a freehold on this earth. All we have is a life tenancy - with a full repairing lease. This Government intends to meet the terms of that lease in full.'"
PRWeek's examination of the state of the climate change message includes the results of a separate poll of 2,000 members of the public by YouGov.
This found that 80% agree that the climate is changing and 60% think it is the result of human activity.
A third of voters believe concerns about climate change are exaggerated.
This article was originally published by PR Week.
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