WHY IS ANTI-EUROPE SO CLOSELY LINKED TO ANTI-SCIENCE?
There is a very high correlation between political attitudes to climate change, and attitudes towards Britain's continued membership of the European Union.
Even more dramatic, but less often noticed, is the correlation, at least within the political class, between views on Europe and views on climate change and climate policy. It is unusual for two issues, neither obviously party political, and not obviously linked in their essential content, to divide opinion in this way.
Politicians for staying in Europe and action on climate change.Lord Deben, formerly Conservative cabinet minister John Selwyn Gummer, is Chair of the UK Committee on Climate Change, and a member of the steering group of Environmentalists For Europe. "... without the EU we wouldn’t have clean beaches, we wouldn’t have the quality of water that we do, and we wouldn’t have taken the action we have on air pollution (particularly with regard to motor vehicles)..."
David Cameron, who once promised the "greenest government ever", is recommending a "stay" vote. "Man-made climate change is one of the greatest threats to the UK and the rest of the world, David Cameron has said. The Prime Minister risked a backlash from climate-sceptic Conservative ministers and MPs by insisting that humans are responsible for climate change. His comments appeared to create an immediate division in his own Cabinet, with Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, refusing to fully back Mr Cameron’s claim." [Daily Telegraph,. 26 February 2014]
Tony Blair as PM, and with all party support, introduced the 2008 Climate Change Act, and is a strong supporter of EU membership. The minor parties, notably the Green party, the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats have always been strong supporters of EU membership and of action on environmental issues.
Politicians for Leave, and opposed to "climate alarmism".
[Rees-Mogg, reported in Daily Telegraph, 23 October 2013]
But this theory fails to explain the UKIP commitment to climate scepticism. UKIP's support, however, like that of Trump in the US and other movements in Europe, has often been viewed as an outpouring of anger by groups that see themselves as marginalised. Their rage is directed against political, media and other elites that they feel have failed them. Given the correlation YouGov observes with levels of education, it may be unsurprising that this is also a group that will extend its distrust of metropolitan elites to a distrust of elites in general, and in this case (unfairly and regrettably) to mainstream science. So perhaps the demographics have something to tell us on climate issues too.