It’s an exciting step forward to see the UK set in law the world’s ‘most ambitious climate change target’. However, as Lord Deben, chairman of the Climate Change Committee is quoted saying, ‘if the people of the UK are not engaged in this challenge - the UK will not deliver net zero by 2050.’
Across our work at Traverse, we are seeing people engaging on future energy and climate action issues, raising concerns of affordability and low public awareness. From energy network customers worried they’ve just changed their boiler and hadn’t heard of the need to decarbonise heat, to public dialogue participants questioning the bill impacts of future energy technologies, to climate assembly members worrying about affording an electric vehicle, these themes are consistent.
Government, industry and all stakeholders in the decarbonisation transition now need to significantly step-up public involvement in how we deliver decarbonisation, particularly in choices that affect our homes and daily lives. Lack of engagement must be seen as a key risk to delivering net zero, particularly with accelerated targets.
Citizens Advice are also drawing attention to this issue - see their blog: People must be at the heart of the transition to net zero
Indeed, for the transition to address and not exacerbate, existing societal inequalities, we must do more to include the voices of citizens who may be most affected by change and affordability barriers.
So what does more inclusive engagement on the energy transition look like?
We’re organising a free practice share event on how more inclusive public engagement could better support a #JustTransition. We don’t have the answers, but we have some ideas, and we’re keen to learn from others.
If you’re interested in these issues, and would like to take part in the practice share or chat over a virtual coffee, message me firstname.lastname@example.org or connect @byAmelieT