Call for discussion papers: Net Zero Governance

Overview

The British Academy is seeking to commission up to ten discussion papers that will contribute to our Net Zero Governance policy programme. Full details are provided in the Terms of Reference documents below, with brief details on this page.

The programme aims to clearly articulate how, why and when governance matters on net zero, and examine practical mechanisms that enables effective direction, oversight and accountability for organisations and institutions committed to delivering net zero. The papers will provide crucial evidence that informs this programme and the authors will be invited to join policy events convened by the Academy.

There are two strands to this call each with its own Terms of Reference. Strand A considers the perspective of leaders; and Strand B considers the perspectives of publics. These differ only in the objectives and framing questions for the paper. Full details are provided in the Terms of Reference – see below.

Please read the Terms of Reference carefully before making a proposal. Each contains a detailed description of the objectives of the paper and illustrations of the types of questions we would like to answer.

The deadline for proposals is 7 June 2024.

If you have questions on any aspect (process or content), please email us: [email protected].

Background

The British Academy policy programme on net zero governance has recently published an initial report – Governance for Net Zero – that warned urgent and decisive action is needed for the UK to achieve its net zero goal. The programme marshals SHAPE (Social Science, Humanities and the Arts for People, Economy & Environment) research and expertise to support net zero delivery, with a focus on governance.

As the programme now enters its second phase, it will build on this foundation to clearly articulate how, why and when governance matters on net zero by exploring relevant governance systems, structures and approaches, including the role of a range of actors embracing government, businesses, publics and civil society. It will examine how good quality, place-sensitive, multi-level governance can provide the tools to effectively direct, oversee and create accountability for organisations and institutions that have taken responsibility for reaching net zero. Its contribution will be to develop practical policy outputs to support policymakers with insights into what they can do to apply good governance principles around net zero delivery.

The report and our analysis of the stakeholder insights and research funded by the programme focused on two enablers, which this phase of the programme will explore in more depth through two strands of work:

  • Strand A: perspective of leaders (including policymakers across layers of government) who direct, oversee and create accountability for an organisation’s (including government departments and public bodies) net zero commitments and create an enabling environment for private and third sectors to support those efforts.
  • Strand B: perspective of publics (including citizens, communities and groups) who elect leaders to direct and oversee the state, hold those leaders to account, and who are affected by and participate in the net zero transformation and its governance. There is no singular ‘public’, hence achieving a net zero transition is further complicated by a range of intersecting, urgent and important issues impacting a range of publics.

Both strands will also explore the relationship with intermediary organisations (or middle actors) and institutions that are responsible for parts of the delivery and governance around net zero policy.

As part of this programme, the Academy will commission up to ten discussion papers - concise, robust, evidence-based, well-referenced, contextualised and balanced papers that respond to the framing and objectives set out in the terms of reference. A complete description of what is expected and how to submit a proposal is provided in the Terms of Reference. Please read these documents carefully before submitting a proposal.

Terms of Reference

The Terms of Reference include full details of what we are looking for and how to submit a proposal

Strand A: perspective of leaders

This strand concerns the perspective of leaders (including policymakers across layers of government) who direct, oversee and create accountability for an organisation’s (including government departments and public bodies) net zero commitments and create an enabling environment for private and third sectors to support those efforts. This strand asks questions from the perspective of leaders including: why and how governance matters for net zero and which leaders are accountable? And what practical governance tools support direction of, oversight of, and accountability for net zero policies and strategies? We are also looking for case studies illustrating practical insights. Please read the details carefully where we go into depth on the areas we are looking to cover.

Strand B: perspective of publics

This strand concerns the perspective of publics (including citizens, communities and groups) who elect leaders to direct and oversee the state, hold those leaders to account, and who are affected by and participate in the net zero transformation and its governance. There is no singular ‘public’, hence achieving a net zero transition is further complicated by a range of intersecting, urgent and important issues impacting a range of publics. This strand asks questions from the perspective of publics including: Why and how does governance matter for net zero? What are the ethical and equity challenges of net zero governance and how can governance provide a means of resolving these? And What practical governance tools support direction of, oversight of, and accountability for net zero policies and strategies? We are also looking for case studies illustrating practical insights. Please read the details carefully where we go into depth on the areas we are looking to cover.

Questions

The Terms of Reference are intended to provide all the details needed to submit a clear proposal for a discussion paper. However, we recognise that there can be questions on both the process and the content of the call. We will, therefore, be running an open webinar on Zoom on Friday 24 May at 10:00 (BST) for anyone interested in the call to hear a short presentation from us on the call, and space to ask questions on any aspect. If you would like to join the webinar, please email [email protected] and we will provide the Zoom link.

If you cannot make this webinar, please feel free to email with your questions and we will endeavour to respond.

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