June 20, 2024


No elected Tory MPs have been rated as voting positively on climate issues, under a survey of parliamentary voting patterns since the Conservatives took power in 2010.

Only a single sitting Conservative was rated as “good” on climate votes in the ranking, but that was Lisa Cameron, the MP for East Kilbride, who defected from the Scottish National Party in October.

The analysis of voting patterns by VoteClimate, an organisation set up to inform UK voters on how to cast their ballots for maximum impact on climate policy, examined all of the votes in parliament since 2010 on energy, transport, finance, housing and other issues that have an impact on the climate crisis.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats dominated the list of MPs rated “very good” on the climate, for their votes on a wide range of legislation, from fracking to the burning of upland peat. MPs were awarded points for their positive votes, minus points for those that had a negative impact on the climate, and this was divided by the number of votes in which they could have taken part, in order to arrive at a final score.

VoteClimate is offering to help voters confused by parties’ environmental policies to navigate the UK’s first-past-the-post electoral system so as to maximise their positive impact on climate policies. When the parties’ manifestos are published, the site will rate the policies they contain against climate objectives.

Ben Horton, the founder of VoteClimate, told the Guardian: “We want to be able to tell people which party will reduce carbon dioxide the most, based on their manifesto.”

That information can then be mapped on to each seat. On the VoteClimate website, voters can see the results of the last election for their constituency, and a set of projected results for the current election based on previous results, boundary changes and opinion polls.

In this way, voters can check whether their seat is a two-way or three-way marginal, and judge how their vote can have the most impact, based on the policies of the parties most likely to win.

By making it easier for people to compare the climate policies of each party, Horton hopes to demonstrate the potential impact of people coordinating their votes on what he believes is a key priority for a large slice of the electorate. “We want to encourage parties to have more ambitious climate policies,” he said.

VoteClimate is also examining the social media posts of more than a thousand prospective parliamentary candidates to unearth any climate-denying opinions or views that may run counter to their parties’ stance. “This will be really useful, as if candidates come out canvassing, you will be able to see what they’ve actually said in the past,” said Horton.

So far, he has found candidates for the Reform party responsible for hundreds of social media posts that opposed net-zero policies, or cast doubt on climate science.

VoteClimate, which has about 4,000 members, has been supported on social media by high-profile green figures including the Green party peer Jenny Jones, the scientist Bill McGuire and the naturalist Chris Packham.

Shaun Spiers, executive director of the Green Alliance thinktank, said all parties should recognise that the climate and environment are key concerns for voters.

“The message for all parties is that voters care about the environment. Unless the major parties start campaigning on the environment, they will inevitably lose votes to those that are making it a major priority,” he warned.

A spokesperson for Labour said: “The choice at this election is clear. Either we have a Conservative government that pollutes our rivers with toxic sewage, is led by and funded by climate deniers, and fails to meet our climate and nature targets, [or] a Labour government that will restore nature, deliver the largest investment in clean energy in our history, so we can cut bills for families, make Britain energy independent, and tackle the climate crisis to protect our homes for our children and grandchildren.”



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