William Nicolle

Research Fellow, Energy and Environment. Read Full Bio

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Great Restorations

Jan 13, 2022

Setting the long-term direction for climate and environmental policy.

Polling for Policy Exchange that finds each policy measure within the Government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution receives moderate or strong support. The results appear to vindicate short-term government strategy, with 73% supporting the use of public money to invest in residential energy efficiency measures and a majority of the population backing the ban of petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

Policies which involve visible changes to consumer lifestyles, such as banning gas boilers or eating less meat, are particularly unpopular. However, the public does back banning single-use plastics.

The report examines the public’s underlying moral motivations and policy priorities to help inform a long-term policy direction to reach Net Zero in the UK by 2050. The ‘climate tribes’ model is based on Jonathan Haidt’s Moral Foundations Theory (MFT), which was first described in Haidt’s seminal 2012 book ‘The Righteous Mind’.

Rather than focusing on individual policies, Moral Foundations Theory helps to explain the outlook of each Tribe at a more fundamental level. As such, the report acts as a guide for the government to build a lasting political framework, with the Tribes offering a window through which the sustainability of climate policies can be gauged as the government moves toward Net Zero.

The report concludes that the government is politically safe in promoting an evolutionary, investment-led transition to Net Zero. The public particularly support policies with clear local benefits, for example creating new jobs or protecting the beauty of British landscapes and ocean environments.

Although the polling finds no major differences between Red Wall and non-Red Wall seats on climate change opinions, local relevance remains key to the popularity of environmental policies.

William Nicolle

Research Fellow, Energy and Environment. Read Full Bio

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