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Proportional Representation is not just better for democracy, but has associated positive outcomes relating to the environment.

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Environmental Policy

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.

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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.

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 (with the current government determined to begin shale gas production despite strong opposition from both local communities and the general public).


Lijphart, Arend (2012). Patterns of Democracy. Government Forms and Performance in 36 Countries. New Haven, CT: Yale Press.

Orellana, Salomon (2014). Electoral Systems and Governance: How Diversity Can Improve Policy Making.New York: Routledge Press

Make Votes Matter is a single-issue campaign for Proportional Representation in the House of Commons and encourages all parties, candidates and MPs to support PR. It does not endorse any party or candidates and takes no position on other political issues.

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