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Major new initiative launched to give the public a say on how we tackle the climate crisis

22/07/2021

  • Building on the pioneering work of the UK Climate Assembly, leading organisations - Demos, WWF, National Grid and ScottishPower - are asking the UK public, just over 100 days before COP26, to explore how the UK should best meet the country’s 2030 climate goals.
  • Using a new, interactive Climate Calculator, people will have the chance to set out their own path towards a greener future, including suggesting policies on public transport, how we heat our homes, and even what we eat.
  • The Calculator will enable the public to explore the impact of these policies on jobs, household budgets and other lifestyle aspects.

With just over 100 days to go until international leaders gather in Glasgow for the beginning of the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, cross-party think tank Demos has teamed up with WWF, National Grid, and ScottishPower to ask people across the UK to consider how we should get on track to reach net zero carbon emissions over this decade.

The UK public can use the Climate Calculator to choose their preferred package of solutions for tackling climate change. When making choices, users will be shown the direct impact on jobs, household budgets and other aspects of their lifestyle. The new tool will, for the first time, enable people to see how impactful different policies would be in order for the UK to meet its 2030 climate targets.

The Climate Calculator is designed to be accessible and easy to use, including for those who are not climate change experts, and it can take just five minutes to complete. Some examples of the different options people can choose from include:

  • How ambitious the government should be on transport and expanding public transport and cycling. For example, whether there should be more investment in buses and cycling or a 60mph speed limit on motorways and dual carriageways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • How quickly low-carbon heating systems like heat pumps should be installed in homes across the UK, and how this should be paid for. For example, should it be covered by the taxpayer, or paid for through energy bills?
  • How can we reduce greenhouse gases in manufacturing and construction; for example, should high carbon goods cost more, and if so, should any money raised be used to compensate households for these costs?
  • How changing UK food production might free up land for planting the right trees in the right places and creating new habitats for wildlife

Building on the Climate Assembly’s efforts to engage the public on ways to achieve the net zero economy, this new initiative gives people across the UK the biggest opportunity to date to have their say on the future solutions needed to tackle the climate crisis. Responses to the tool will provide vital insights for the government on public opinion about the best ways to hit our 2030 climate target.

Charles Seaford, Senior Fellow at Demos, said: “The Climate Assembly was a game-changer in involving people in the UK’s mission to tackle climate change. Building on its success, we are now asking people across the whole of the UK to have their say on how we can meet our 2030 climate goals to save the planet, using an interactive climate tool.

“You have the greatest opportunity yet to step into the shoes of our political leaders and set out your ideal path to net zero. Whether it’s investment in a charging network for electric cars or making low carbon central heating affordable, we’re urging you to make your voice heard on climate policies that will have an impact on you and your community.”

Isabella O’Dowd, Head of Climate Change at WWF, said: “The climate and nature crisis impacts us all – so it’s only right that we should all get a say in how we tackle it. The government needs an urgent and credible strategy to show how the UK can reach its net zero emissions targets – and this groundswell of public voices and choices on the finer detail of cutting emissions can help make this a reality. By letting the government know what we want, we can help shape a greener and more resilient future.”

Duncan Burt, Director at National Grid, a Principal Partner of COP26, said: “Tackling climate change is no easy task and it will take all of us working together to find solutions and ways forward. We are absolute in our view that it must be a just transition that everyone benefits and no-one is left behind. So we hope the Climate Calculator will help raise awareness and increase understanding of the impact of different climate policies and solutions. We want people to have their voice heard and by empowering them with the right tools and knowledge, they can make better decisions on how and when they use energy.”

Keith Anderson, Chief Executive of ScottishPower, a Principal Partner of COP26, said: “Tackling climate change is an opportunity for us all to make positive changes for our environment. Already all our business decisions are being made with Net Zero in mind. All the power we generate comes from our UK wind farms, onshore and offshore, and every new customer we sign up gets 100% green electricity as a matter of course.

“To have a successful green energy revolution in the UK, people must be at the heart of it, with governments, regulators and industry working together to enable everyone to make better choices. This fantastic tool can help show the positive impact those changes can have and deliver a better future, quicker, for everyone.”

Anyone can take part by accessing the Climate Calculator via the link below:

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