A people-centred approach is needed to meet net zero goals

by Caroline Verfuerth, Christina Demski, Stuart Capstick, Lorraine Whitmarsh and Wouter Poortinga

Date
28 Sep 2023
Publisher
Journal of the British Academy
Digital Object Identifier
https://doi.org/10.5871/jba/011s4.097
Number of pages
28

Pages in this section

Abstract: To meet net zero goals, more drastic action is needed than is acknowledged by most policymakers, posing a major social challenge that will impact many aspects of people’s lives. This paper emphasises the importance of a people-centred approach for policy makers to achieve net zero effectively and rapidly while being alert to citizens’ needs and concerns. We advocate a comprehensive and inclusive public engagement strategy, discussing insights on four key questions to guide policymakers in developing successful engagement strategies. (1) How do climate-friendly social transformations happen?, (2) How can behavioural change for net zero be supported? (3) How can people be involved in decision-making on net zero?, and (4) How does climate change intersect with other societal challenges? We conclude with clear policy recommendations: government leadership at all levels (national, devolved, local), underpinned by a public engagement strategy for net zero, is needed in addition to fair and consistent policies that are transparent about the scale of action needed.

Keywords: People-centred approach, public engagement, behaviour change, government

Article posted to the Journal of the British Academy, volume 11, supplementary issue 4 (Governance Factors on the Road to Net Zero)

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