Make Votes Matter is the national movement for Proportional Representation

Equal Votes and Enviroment

Proportional Representation Linked to Better Environmental Policies

Proportional Representation Linked to Better Environmental Policies

Studies have found that countries using proportional systems set stricter environmental policies and were faster to ratify the Kyoto protocol. On environmental performance, Lijphart (2012) and Orellana (2014) found that countries with PR scored six points higher on the Yale Environmental Performance Index, which measures ten policy areas, including environmental health, air quality, resource management, biodiversity and habitat, forestry, fisheries, agriculture and climate change.

Using data from the International Energy Agency, Orellana (2014) found that between 1990 and 2007, when carbon emissions were rising everywhere, the statistically predicted increase was significantly lower in countries with fully proportional systems, at 9.5 per cent, compared to 45.5 percent in countries using winner-take-all systems. Orellana found use of renewable energy to be 117 percent higher in countries with fully proportional systems.

For full references and a more detailed discussion on environmental policy, see Make Votes Matter co-founder Owen Winter’s 2018 essay on PR and the environment.

Proportional Representation Linked to Better Environmental Policies

The UK has historically lagged behind its European peers when it comes to action on climate change and uptake of renewable energy. Depressingly, this is despite having by far the best offshore wind and marine energy potential in Europe. Successive governments have at best taken relatively limited action to move away from fossil fuels and reduce emissions, or at worst have actively resisted such progress. The 2017 government made moves to begin shale gas production despite strong opposition from local groups and a majority of opposition in the electorate.

Unlawful Protest More Likely under First Past The Post

During the peak of the UK Extinction Rebellion protests in 2019, Make Votes Matter co-founder Klina Jordan outlined a strong case for disruptive environmental protests being an inevitable result of an unstable First Past The Post system. At the time of writing, the three countries where the movement was most active – The United Kingdom, the United States and Canada – all used the First Past The Post system for national elections.