ACCESS - Advancing Capacity for Climate  and Environment Social Science
ACCESS - Advancing Capacity for Climate  and Environment Social Science
ACCESS Assembly break out session

Net Zero Task Force


ACCESS has established a social and behavioural change task force to help inform the UK’s Net Zero policymaking.

A group of ten social scientists, leading experts in environmental and climate change from geography, psychology, anthropology, sociology, politics and medicine have been tasked with providing evidence for effective policymaking.

Together with Government departments, devolved administrations and nature agencies, they’ll be developing a social science commentary on the UK Government Net Zero Research and Innovation Framework.

As part of this process, the task force will look at where policy interventions, have successfully translated into social change. E.g., reduction in smoking, declining use of plastic bags, adherence to lockdown restrictions and adoption of LED lighting.

Karen Bickerstaff who leads the group, explains further “The task force aims to determine what the dynamics of change are and how policy can target or align interventions, and the sorts of policy levers that can most effectively support change. Providing evidence for effective Net Zero policymaking, as well as a clear understanding of how historical perspectives can inform policy.”

Patrick Devine-Wright, ACCESS Director adds “The team of specialists will be collaborating with ACCESS partners which include government departments such as the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero and Defra, nature agencies like NatureScot, Natural Resources Wales, and the Environment Agency. We will be working at pace and sharing our findings and recommendations through a series of events and a final report by next September 2024.”

 

Patrick Devine-Wright

Observations and recommendations will be available:

  • Policy Brief
  • Summary report
  • Events and activities from January-June 2024

This is in step with the government’s Chief Scientist, Angela McLean, who recently told the House of Commons Science, Innovation and Technology Committee that, looking at the National Risk Register, she would focus on the risks on which scientific input could have the “most impact”. She was interested in combining resources across diverse disciplines from inside and outside government, as the UK needs natural science, behavioural science and data science to plan for risks.

 

Who is in the Task force?

ACCESS Task Forces will be an annual initiative, bringing together world-leading social science expertise to focus on crucial and challenging policy areas. Net Zero is the first of four. Each one will be on a different topic related to the environment.

Update

The Net Zero Task Force met again in September and further sub-group meetings have been taking place over the last few months.

The key themes of the Task Force are:

  • Systems thinking
  • Conditions for social change
  • Demand reduction
  • Net Zero, Equity & Just Transitions
  • Civic Engagement and Net Zero Pathways
  • Place-based solutions

Work includes:

Laptop open on desk with house plants in the background

 

Observations and recommendations will be available:

  • Policy Brief
  • Summary report
  • Events and activities from  January-June 2024

How can I get involved?

Anyone interested in finding out more should contact Steve Guilbert,  ACCESS Research Impact Fellow.

There will be several opportunities through events to get involved. Subscribe to our weekly ACCESS newsletter to find out when these will be.

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