IEMA calls on next government to provide stronger international leadership on climate change

9th April 2015


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  • Central government ,
  • Mitigation ,
  • Adaptation

Author

Julian Walker-Palin

The next UK government should take a stronger international leadership stance on climate change and energy issues, according to a survey of IEMA members.

In the lead up to the general election, IEMA has polled its members to explore the environment and sustainability profession’s views on climate change and energy policies. The research found that 91% of the 833 respondents agree that the next government needs to strengthen its leadership and commitment on domestic and international climate change issues.

Other findings include:

  • 92% of respondents agree that the next government should strengthen its commitment and investment in relation to future climate risks –
    for example, in flood risk management and in broader
    climate change adaptation.
  • 66% do not believe that gas derived from hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in the UK has a role to play as a “strategic transition fuel” in the nation’s future energy provision. Instead, more than 72% believe the incoming administration should prioritise investment in energy conservation schemes. Respondents also overwhelmingly support more funding for a mix of renewable and alternative energy schemes in order to address any potential short- to medium-term energy gaps.
  • 59% of those surveyed agree with the statement: “The UK should lead by example in carbon reduction.”

The survey results come after the three main party leaders signed a cross-party declaration to tackle climate change. However, when asked which party leader demonstrates climate leadership best, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband received a combined vote of just 24%. By contrast, more than half (51%) of those polled back Natalie Bennett of the Green party as the leader who demonstrates the strongest leadership. Twenty per cent said they did not know who was strongest leadership.

Commenting on the survey results, Nick Blyth, IEMA’s lead on climate change said: “Collectively, the survey results demonstrate a professional urgency on climate change.” He said the strength of feeling among the profession on climate and energy issues signals a need for greater political momentum. “IEMA members are making a strong call for renewed political climate leadership from the next UK government. 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 Blyth. IEMA would look to engage constructively with the incoming administration, and to work with its members to present critical evidence and experience from climate change professionals.

IEMA’s poll also addressed a widely held view that policy to reduce carbon emissions focused too much on the biggest companies, neglecting the importance of action and policy drivers for wider businesses, including small and medium-size enterprises. Almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents believe there is a need for the next government to rationalise the number of energy and carbon schemes affecting the biggest organisations. At the same time, more than half (53%) recognise the need for more financial support to be given to smaller businesses, such as tax breaks or loans, to help them implement energy savings measures.

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