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

October 02 2023 - News Release News Editorial

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.

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

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

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.

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