A new opinion poll asking Conservative voters what they think of the UK’s net zero target shows the party’s voters are firmly behind the world-leading policy despite recent scepticism from some commentators and politicians.
Asked about the UK’s efforts to achieve net zero compared to other industrialised countries, 76 per cent thought “the UK should try as hard as possible to be a global leader in getting to net zero and develop new green industries and jobs, even if it is more expensive”.
In comparison, only 24 per cent said, “the UK should match the pace of slower countries in getting to net zero, even if it means the effects of climate change are larger, and green jobs go overseas”.
Eighty-one per cent of all voters in Red Wall constituencies thought the UK should lead the world in achieving net zero, while only 19 per cent said we match slower countries.
Fifty-seven per cent of Conservative voters think achieving net zero will be good for jobs and the economy, while only 14 per cent disagree.
More Conservative voters (67 per cent) say they are proud the UK is taking a leading role in tackling climate change than the national average (64 per cent). Of those considering voting Conservative at the next election, 70 per cent say they are proud.
Seventy-four per cent of Conservative voters support higher investment to drive renewable energy production and reduce our reliance on imported gas. Only 3 per cent said green policies such as renewable subsidies were the most important reason for the cost of goods and services increasing at the moment.
Responding to the opinion poll commissioned by the Conservative Environment Network (CEN), MPs have called for the government to stick with its manifesto pledge to achieve net zero by 2050.
The poll also found that 46 per cent of Conservative voters think the government is doing the right amount to tackle climate change, while 29 per cent think it's doing too little. Only 15 per cent say it's doing too much.
Conservative voters also know more about the government’s Net Zero Strategy compared to voters for other parties. Eighty-nine per cent have heard about it, whereas only 81 per cent of Labour voters and 83 per cent of Liberal Democrats know about the strategy.
CEN MP Nick Fletcher (Don Valley) commented: “Net zero will not only tackle climate change but secure our country’s future prosperity. Delaying net zero risks losing new jobs to other countries. Doing nothing will not ease the cost of living crisis nor will it help us level up Doncaster.
“There will be a transition period that we need to deal with. It’s essential that we keep our lights on and our homes warm. But the 2050 goal should remain and we should embrace the challenge that lies ahead. If we do then the reward is not just a self-sufficient, clean and wonderful place to live for us but also every generation that follows us.”
CEN MP Richard Graham (Gloucester) commented: “Overwhelmingly people understand that we can’t sit still and do nothing about climate change. That’s why the vast majority of Conservative voters don’t buy the idea that we shouldn’t be ambitious. They want to see Britain make progress on net zero.
“The case for decarbonising our economy is only getting stronger. The energy crunch and Ukraine crisis bring home the consequences of depending on fossil fuels. Achieving net zero is not just about climate change anymore, but the cost of living and national security too."
CEN MP Chris Skidmore (Kingswood) commented: “Conservative voters understand the importance of net zero to the future prosperity of this country, and we must be careful that a handful of individuals lobbying for fracking aren't seen to represent that majority of Conservative MPs, particularly those in Red Wall seats, who understand the real value of the green industrial revolution to providing new industries and jobs for the future. Above all, it’s clear that Conservative voters, along with the British public, want to see the UK lead the world in decarbonising, win the economic growth it promises and power Britain with cheap, clean, homegrown energy. “Ministers should stick to this positive vision for change in which the UK can help lead the rest of the world and bring international investment to our shores. Net zero is crucial to the government’s agenda of levelling up and delivering for people across the country. Now more than ever before, we need to wean ourselves off Russian gas if we are to escape from this cost of gas crisis.”