Five things about climate change and net zero that matter to the public
Monday 10 January 2022
We’ve drawn upon insights from our work to share with you the top five things the public said mattered to them about climate change and net zero.
"Women and girls experience the greatest impacts of climate change. For a just transition to net zero we must do more to involve them inclusively in decarbonisation decision-making and policy formation."Amélie TreppassHead of environment and future energy
With this year's International Women's Day 2022 theme being 'gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow', we're focusing on the vital role of inclusive engagement in the climate response - in particular, how we deliver a just transition to net zero.
Our associate director Amélie Treppass, who leads on our environment and future energy work, has shared five recommendations for how better engagement can deliver a just transition.
1. Proactively involve people with diverse lived experiences: design engagement which empowers marginalised and underrepresented audiences to participate. Be mindful of providing different ways for people to get involved, particularly ways that are ‘comfortable and safe’ for all audiences. Be proactive to mitigate against digital exclusion.
Include those who will be most impacted by climate change, failure to act and the decisions you are taking. Women and girls experience disproportionate impacts from climate change, exacerbating existing gender inequalities.
2. Co-design inclusive engagement: work with people who may face barriers to participation, or bring lived experience of inequality, to co-design engagement. Ensure decision-makers are involved in this process, so that insight from resulting engagement links to decisions.
3. Empower communities to help deliver engagement: recruit and support facilitators from the community, empower community champions to have a larger communication role with residents, invite communities to talk to each other, share experiences and learn together. Design in citizen science and peer research methods.
4. Take a whole-system or cross-sector approach: climate change and net zero can no longer be seen as niche or siloed interests. Equally there is no single actor who can tackle them alone. Share data and insights from public engagement so that other organisations can benefit. Going further, collaborate together on public engagement. Give participants a balanced range of perspectives on unknowns.
5. Take a place-based approach: as the Net Zero Strategy recognises, engaging and making change at a local level can support a just transition, with local actors knowing how to serve communities and integrate activity so that action on climate change also delivers wider benefits. There won’t be a one-size fits all answer to things like future energy choices, so local engagement will be ever-more important.
We’ve compiled some inclusive practice resources from conversations like this across our work and created an inclusive practice Linkedin Group to continue to share ideas and tips – do join us!
These recommendation are based upon reflections on a practice share we hosted as part of the NEA's Warm Homes Week 2021 and our wider experience of climate and net zero engagement and social research.
Thank you to Dr Elizabeth Blakelock and the REBLE (Research Enabled by Lived Experience) who shared their experiences, and to everyone who attended the NEA event and contributed.