Government urged to involve public in climate policy design

23rd September 2021


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IEMA

The UK’s transition to net-zero emissions will only succeed if the government does more to involve the public in designing climate-related policies, the Institute for Government has warned.

In a recent report, the think tank explains that engagement with the public will be critical when shaping policies – such as taxes and subsidies to support the replacement of gas boilers, or encourage changes in diet – as the country undergoes an “economy-wide transformation”. Engagement could be carried out via a range of methods, from citizens’ assemblies and juries to participatory budgeting and crowdsourcing,

However, the report highlights that there is limited government capability and expertise on public engagement, and little co-ordination of activities across government, despite the success of the 2020 Climate Assembly UK. It recommends that the Climate Change Committee play a greater role in advising ministers on public engagement, that departments invest in strengthening the public engagement expertise needed, and that the government use its Net Zero Strategy to set out how it intends to use the public to inform policies.

The report adds: “The transition will be successful only if government works with people, rather than imposing solutions from on high.”

Image credit | iStock

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