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Political Leadership

Tracker data: Low levels of trust in political parties to speak about climate change

29 November 2023

Climate Barometer tracker data shows that the public, and strikingly MPs, do not put the political party they voted for in the top three most trusted sources to speak on the subject of climate change.

In the public data, only 2% selected this option, including only 1% of Conservative voters.

For MPs, the figure is higher at 14%, but hardly a ringing endorsement.

Because of the way the question was asked, sources with the ‘credentials’ to speak on climate change are likely to have been preferentially selected. However, the fact that the voters for (and political representatives of) their own political parties don’t see themselves as being trusted on climate suggests there is a space in the national political discourse for credible, climate-literate politicians.

The top three trusted messengers for MPs are:

1) Academics, 2) Naturalists such as David Attenborough and Chris Packham, and 3) The Climate Change Committee.

The top three trusted messengers for the public are:

1) Scientists, 2) Naturalists such as David Attenborough and Chris Packham, and 3) None of the above.

The latest from the Political Leadership timeline:

Policy Insight 8th April 2024

Green Alliance policy tracker: March 2024 update

The Green Alliance Net Zero policy tracker has monitored government policies since 2020. The March 2024 update compares progress against the emissions pathways set out in the Net Zero Strategy, last updated in 2023. The report concludes that across the whole economy, and for many individual sectors, there is a continued lack of progress on decarbonisation, and adds that ‘strong leadership is missing across the political spectrum’.

Beyond the material threat to decarbonisation this lack of leadership poses, Climate Barometer tracker data is clear that voters want and expect leadership on climate change.

Its absence therefore also undermines policies which require buy-in and acquiescence from the public, including the transition from gas boilers to electrified heat pumps.

Opinion Insight 21st February 2024

ECIU polling: more voters had heard about Labour’s green investment ‘U-turn’ than the policy itself

In the wake of Labour’s announcement that their green investment pledge would be scaled back, the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) commissioned snap polling from Opinium.

Only 14% of people reported being ‘very aware’ of Labour’s (previously) proposed £28 billion a year investment plans. This is worth noting, as a significant amount of debate within green policy circles has focused on this specific number (but most of the public wasn’t aware of it in the first place).

Roughly double the number of people (26%) said they were ‘very aware’ of the decision to reduce the £28 billion pledge, though, suggesting that for a significant number of people, the intense media debate around whether or not Labour would ‘U-turn’ would have been the first time they had encountered the policy.

Read our analysis taking stock of what the policy shift from Labour is likely to have meant to voters here.

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