In the West Country we have six Members of the European Parliament (MEP) to represent us on issues including the development of unconventional gas and renewable energy. The South West MEPs include members of the Conservative, UKIP, Labour and Green parties. No matter what their political affiliation we should expect them to form their opinions on the basis of credible evidence and represent our best interests accordingly. Let’s have a quick look at how two of the South West MEPs form, reinforce and communicate their opinions:
Ashely Fox MEP (Conservative) conducts his own online polls including the questions Should Britain be accessing it’s shale gas reserves? and Is onshore wind power worth investing in as part of a diversified energy sector? He then publishes an annual summary of the survey results including the percentage of respondents who answered in different ways and matches the results with his own views. However, he provides no information on what measures were taken to ensure that the surveys are representative or how many respondents answered each question.
Are these poll results indicative of public opinion nationally or in the South West or are they just self-selecting and self-serving nonsense? In stark contrast to Mr Fox’s poll results a national poll by YouGov for the Sunday Times shows that in May 2015 43% (Fox 7%) of respondents were against the development of shale gas and 32% in favour. Similarly the same YouGov poll shows that the public still supports onshore wind development with 61% (Fox 26%) of respondents supporting the industry.
So, are Mr Fox’s poll results representative or just self-serving? Mr Fox supports fracking and is a member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy. firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is another take on this issue – Fracking support falls as Tory government promises to ‘deliver shale’
Dr Julia Reid MEP (UKIP) doesn’t have her own polls but rather favours sound-bite videos of her speeches in the European Parliament to communicate her views. Dr Reid doesn’t let her scientific qualifications get in the way of UKIP’s climate science denial based energy policy. In this one minute video she says “Since 1995 global warming has not been happening” ignoring the fact that it is a well established scientific fact that global warming has not stopped and that more than 90% of warming is in the oceans not the land surface air temperature.
Here is a more authoritative 1 minute video on global warming from the Royal Society.
Climate Myth – What has global warming done since 1998?
Strangely Dr Reid seems to accept what the UN has to say about ozone depletion and the need for global action but rejects what the UN, the world’s Science Academies and NASA have to say about human made global warming.
Dr Reid supports fracking and is on the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. email@example.com