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A national behaviour change campaign ‘urgently required’ to meet climate goals, say Peers

A national behaviour change campaign ‘urgently required’ to meet climate goals, say Peers

A House of Lords committee has called for a national, joined-up behaviour change campaign to meet emissions targets.

A third of the UK’s emissions reductions by 2035 must come from people changing their behaviour, says the House of Lords’ environment and climate change committee in a report published yesterday.

“We found that we cannot rely on large-scale and unproven technologies alone to achieve the transition to net zero”, the committee says in its report, ‘In our hands: behaviour change for climate and environmental goals’.

“Behaviour change across the whole population is essential to meet net zero and reduce environmental harms.

“Priority behaviour change policies are needed in the areas of travel, heating, diet and consumption to enable the public to adopt and use green technologies and products and reduce carbon-intensive consumption.”

Noting that transport makes the largest contribution to emissions, the report says that changes to personal travel – including a shift from car use to active travel and public transport – ‘could deliver meaningful emissions reductions’.

The committee wants the UK government to launch a public campaign in key areas where behaviour change is needed.

“A public engagement strategy, both to communicate a national narrative and build support for getting to net zero, is urgently required”, it says.

“Behavioural science evidence and best practice show that a combination of policy levers, including regulation and fiscal incentives, must be used by Government, alongside clear communication, as part of a joined-up approach to overcome the barriers to making low-carbon choices.”

“People power is critical to reach our environmental goals,” said Baroness Parminter, the committee’s chair.

“But unless we are encouraged and enabled to change behaviours in how we travel, what we eat and buy and how we heat our homes, we won’t meet those targets”, she said.

At BetterPoints, we whole-heartedly welcome this. We have been delivering behaviour change interventions for local authorities for more than a decade, particularly around active and sustainable travel, and we know it can be done at scale – with the right tools, incentives and support.

But it means thinking BIG. Changing the behaviour of a few hundred people here and there will not make enough difference.

We definitely need a clear, joined-up approach to this – but from leaders in every area of public life, including those from businesses and the community, as well as national and local government.

BetterPoints behaviour change programmes get people more physically active and travelling more sustainably. Ask us for a demo today.