Dear Prime Minister,
In your speech on delivering our net zero goals on the 20th September you said that you and your fellow political leaders haven’t ‘looked people in the eye’ and explained the hard choices and trade-offs involved in delivering our ambitious climate policies.
We agree. We think you urgently need to change that.
Climate Outreach are experts in climate change communication. We have nearly 20 years of research and evidence on the social science of climate change communication and public engagement. We understand the importance of working with people with different perspectives on climate change and specialise in engaging people outside ‘the green bubble’.
And all of our research tells us that people want bold leadership on climate change, not backtracking.
Of course people are worried about the cost of living. But support for the transition to net zero has remained stubbornly high, with support only rising for measures that can tackle emissions and save people money.
And of course people want policies to feel fair. But absolutely key to this is people understanding and feeling involved in the design and roll out of our net zero policies.
Where there are worries about the costs and benefits of net zero, this should be addressed not by backtracking but through proper public engagement: a combination of exciting and visionary communications, delivered by trusted messengers, and public involvement in how to make necessary policies feel fair.
In fact, this public engagement, these honest conversations about climate change, should have started years ago. Yet in your government’s latest Public Attitudes Tracker on net zero, 48% of respondents felt they knew ‘only a little or hardly anything’ about the issue, and 11% said they had never heard of it. How is this possible for the greatest challenge of our time?
At the COP26 in Glasgow your government committed to publishing a public engagement strategy on net zero. We are now calling on you urgently to do this. If, as you say, you want to build the public’s consent and have honest conversations with them about net zero, an ambitious, clear public engagement strategy is crucial.
We would welcome the opportunity to meet you and your team and assist you in designing a national public engagement strategy, having recently published an evidence-based, practical report on this very subject.
CEO, Climate Outreach
Reports & guides
5 responses to Letter to UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, following decision to delay climate policies
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