The world faces unprecedented risks due to climate change, and mitigating this requires a transformation of many industries and patterns of everyday consumption. But little attention has been paid to how the transformation of these industries is impacting the communities who depend on them for employment.
Key insights from our work
- We need to talk about the transition to a low-carbon economy without it sounding like a threat to the livelihoods – and sense of identity – of all those who work in energy-intensive industries and the communities they support.
- In order to be successful, dialogue has to be grounded in a practical and feasible plan and present a response to people’s legitimate concerns. Building a successful just transition has to be about more than just a message: the jobs need to be ready and waiting for people to move into.
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- Previous Climate Outreach testing shows that the imagery and language of ‘justice’ has not resonated well with centre-right audiences, suggesting that ‘just transition’ may prompt the same response. The subtly different framing of ‘fairness’ may work better with people who hold centre-right values. Fairness is about doing right by everyone involved; justice, by contrast, may be taken to imply wrongdoing in the past that must be atoned for.
- Many communities are turned off by imagery and stereotypes associated with environmentalism, and will speak more openly with trusted members of their own community. In successful communications, trust between all parties is essential.
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