Net Zero Policy Programme
- Start date
- Programme status
People sit at the centre of many of the policies and actions under consideration as part of the transition to net zero. A British Academy research scheme, Shared Understandings of a Sustainable Future highlighted the lack of sufficient understanding of the role of people, limitations in how people are engaged and gaps in systems that will be needed to achieve the ambitious targets associated with the transition.
Building on this, the British Academy’s policy work on net zero in the UK is exploring the role of people in the transition and the role of communities and institutions at different levels in facilitating this process. It uses a systems perspective to understand how policies across different sectors and across all levels of society consider the perceptions, motivations, and priorities of people and their communities. The programme aims to tackle this challenge and develop relevant and timely insights to inform UK policy on the topic.
The British Academy - Published in November 2022
As part of our work to understand the policy landscape for Net Zero in the UK and explore the role of SHAPE (Social Science, Humanities and the Arts for People, the Economy and Environment) disciplines in policymaking which aims to deliver on commitments to Net Zero in the UK, we held three roundtables engaging a range of academics, business figures and policy experts. Each roundtable was chaired by a Fellow of the British Academy and a summary of the points discussed and the areas for further research has been produced.
Research projects and outputs
Our initial research considered how can collaboration across sectors (public, third sector, business and local communities), foster shared commitments to goals, values and programmes to deliver net zero as part of a sustainable future? Researchers worked through a wide range of methods, engaging diverse people and places. It indicated a range of cross-cutting elements to consider: the importance of place (see below); the relationships between people, communities, institutions, and different modes of governance; the connections between different levels of governance; methods of engagement and communication; questions of inclusion and values; economic and financial considerations; and the types of skills and knowledge needed.
The nine research projects commissioned are listed below, each with its findings summarised in a policy summary. The abstracts of each project are also available. A new round of research based on these findings will be commissioned in 2023.
Communities of Creative Survival: Live Simulation to Generate Grassroots Insight for Net-Zero Policy
Dr Danielle Barrios-O'Neill
Royal College of Art
Developing a Grassroots Sustainable Futures Platform: Collective Participation in a Community-Based Cultural Organisation
Dr Lee Barron
The Great Community Climate Change Experiment: Using children from the community to promote meaningful sustainable actions
Professor Geoff Beattie
Edge Hill University
Attitudes Towards Climate Action
Professor Sir Timothy Besley FBA
London School of Economics and Political Science
Collaborative Voices: drawing on cross-sector expertise in building community capacity and sustaining partnerships towards net-zero sustainability futures
Dr Jaya Gajparia
London South Bank University
Co-designing sustainable food futures: using climate assemblies to build shared agri-food visions for net-zero
Professor Damian Maye
University of Gloucestershire
Community-Led Television, Local Voice and Climate Action
Dr Elke Weissmann
Edge Hill University
Shifting the Narrative: Exploring the role of arts interventions in supporting communities in working across sectors to achieve place-based climate action
Dr Alette Willis
University of Edinburgh
Localising and decentralising goal-based governance for sustainability in England
Professor Jane Wills FBA
University of Exeter