Behaviour change, public engagement and Net Zero


  • 12/11/2020
    16:00 - 18:00
Now in their twenty-ninth year, The Beesley Lectures were founded by Professor Michael Beesley, one of the most influential regulatory economists of his time. Held in partnership with the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Centre for Competition and Regulatory Policy at City, University of London, the series attracts the foremost thinkers in government, industry and academia.

Lecture Two: Behaviour change, public engagement and Net Zero – Thursday 12th November, 4pm

The IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels strengthened the case for pursuing greater efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In May 2019, the CCC recommended a UK target of net-zero emissions by 2050, and this has now also been adopted by Government which is now legally committed to delivering it. Breaking with previous messaging to households to make small and easy changes, high-impact shifts in consumer behaviours and choices are needed that are consistent with the scale of the climate challenge, build optimism and commitment, and give weight to new ambitious narratives that inspire wide public participation.

Policy to deliver rapid societal change and technology adoption for Net Zero is unchartered territory, but it must help to redirect the flow of household spending away from high GHG-impact products and services and towards the commercialisation and mass-adoption of low-carbon alternatives. How can public policy best facilitate much greater behavioural and societal change towards net-zero emissions scenarios? How can we overcome the remaining barriers frustrating consumer choices? How can policy avoid creating a context that makes it easy for people to justify inaction? How can feedback systems be developed to build momentum across behaviour change, policy and industry?

Richard Carmichael, Research Associate, Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London

Nida Broughton, Director of Economic Policy, Behavioural Insights Team

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