How important is Climate Change to UK voters?

By Layla Maguire

Climate change has become one of the most crucial factors in the UK’s voting behaviours in this year’s general election, with thousands currently campaigning in the COP25 climate change talks in Madrid since 2 December.

Professor Sandy Tudhope of Climate Studies at the University of Edinburgh stated: “Climate change is really important to my vote in the general election, probably one of my top things, as it’s an exponential threat that needs to be addressed and political parties need to take urgent, long-term action.”

Activists have been left frustrated after the first week of COP25 due to the lack of progress made with negotiations in Madrid. Greta Thunberg arrived on Friday, the fifth day of the talks, and claimed that she and the millions of other protestors have “achieved nothing”. She showed that leaders must listen to the scientists’ warnings of the climate being in a state of emergency and prioritise those who are most affected by climate change.

The main points of discussion among negotiators have been around the slight progress made with greenhouse gas emissions rising by 0.6%, which is less than recent years, and the future of carbon markets. However, the “high-level segment” and concrete decisions could not be made until today, which marks the arrival of environment ministers and finance ministers who are able to form solutions from the negotiations. Tomorrow, the EU will propose its green new deal from the European Commission, which the UK will not be a part of due to the approach of the general election.

Professor Tudhope attended the first week of the COP25 talks in Madrid, stating: “The general consensus is that the evidence for climate change is as convincing as ever and reports on the issue contain much more detail. It is known that significant action needs to be taken quickly and urgently.”

We are now into the second week of the talks in Madrid, and Professor Tudhope explains what he wants by the end of the negotiations. He said: “I want to see commitment to ensure each country has climate plans in place. I don’t expect them to have one completed, but I want them to commit to doing one and commit to presenting the information at the Glasgow meeting next year.”

”We’re very fortunate in our country as major parties are talking about climate change as a serious issue, so we have a chance of success from the Glasgow talks.”

The COP25 climate talks are being held in the Science Centre in Glasgow in 2020.

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