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    View live vehicle emissions data at AQE 2018

    Visitors to next week's Air Quality & Emissions Show (AQE 2018) in Telford will be able to view live emissions data from vehicles travelling on a road close to the Telford International Centre, where the event will take place (21-22nd Nov.) Ricardo plc, a global strategic engineering and environmental consultancy, will operate the monitoring equipment, providing a live feed into their AQE exhibition stand number No. 74.

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    ABB to exhibit latest technologies for water and air monitoring at WWEM & AQE 2018 shows

    ABB's new AquaMaster flowmeter and Dynamic QR code remote assistance tool for air quality systems to feature at WWEM & AQE 2018 shows

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    Jacopa Strengthens Stormwater Solutions

    Wastewater solutions specialist Jacopa has reached a landmark agreement with German water technology systems expert Steinhardt GmbH as the sole agent for its wide range of flood and process protection products in the UK and Ireland.

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    EMEX, the Energy Management Exhibition, taking place on the 21st and 22nd of November at ExCeL London will have a stellar line-up of speakers and exhibitors.

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Friday, 09 February 2018 11:04

MPs yearn for climate change talks but constituents unconcerned

A university and think tank study of MPs has found that the issue of climate change rarely features amongst their constituents, who nevertheless respond to issues such as plastic pollution in the oceans following the BBC's Blue Planet II series or Sky Ocean Rescue initiatives. The study outlines approaches that may change this situation.

The research by Rebecca Willis at Lancaster University and think tank Green Alliance found that many politicians want to see action on climate change but some admit they avoid mentioning it to their constituents because they do not think their views will be supported. The research based on interviews with MPs, says politicians face major challenges getting people engaged in what is often seen as a global issue rather than a local one.

house of common1"Despite climate change being a major threat, there's a considerable gulf between what scientists say needs doing and what there's public support for," says Rebecca Willis, a researcher in the Sociology Department.

"It's a problem because MPs aren't feeling any pressure from their constituents to act on climate change. Yet programmes like Blue Planet II and the outcry over plastic show that people do care.

"Politicians need help to engage with the electorate in positive ways locally that build awareness and motivate people to support climate policies."

A national plan for emission reduction was agreed at the 2015 Paris summit by 195 world leaders. This was in response to consensus from scientists that drastic action was necessary to avoid dangerous changes to the climate.

The aim of the ESRC-funded research was to explore how MPs reconcile their commitment to act on climate change with their role as representatives of the people.

Researchers conducted interviews with more than a dozen serving and former MPs. Those who took part represented the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties.

MPs green alliance climate change willisAll interviewees reported that climate change was seldom or never raised by the constituents they meet in their surgeries, on the doorstep when campaigning or in day-to-day encounters.
One interviewee said: "I've knocked hundreds, literally thousands of doors, and had tens of thousands of conversations with voters ... and I just don't have conversations about climate change."

Another said: "I can't remember the last time I was asked about climate change. It's very rare to be asked about it."

The study found that it was not straightforward for MPs to convey a message on climate change in a meaningful way for their constituents.

"Justifying their actions and garnering support is problematic because climate change is a complex issue, and levels of public concern are low compared to other issues," says Ms Willis.

The study identified four different arguments that politicians used to justify the need to act. These approaches included:

house of commons2· Cosmopolitan - discussing the need for a global response that goes beyond a local area.
· Local prevention - talking about how preventing the worst effects of climate change is in the interests of a local area.
· Co-benefits - showing how climate change is linked to achievable local actions e.g. road improvements or saving money via community energy companies.
· Surrogate - deliberately not mentioning climate change but instead backing schemes that cut environmental impacts e.g. reduced congestion.

Politicians may use any of the above claims in different circumstances, according to Ms Willis. However, positive approaches that talk about the issues and relate them to local events are preferable, she says: "Attempting to bring about change without people noticing is self-defeating. It does nothing to build long-term awareness.

"Local strategies that improve resilience to flooding and which provide jobs for local people, in the renewable energy industry for example, give communities control."

The key message from the study is that MPs need better support in developing a comprehensive political response to climate change. Ms Willis says this includes scientists and campaign groups acknowledging that politicians have a complex role, and working with them to develop cases for action.

LINKS
The study ‘Constructing a ‘Representative Claim’ for Action on Climate Change: Evidence from Interviews with Politicians’
www.rebeccawillis.co.uk
Green Alliance blog on this issue
www.esrc.ac.uk