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Building support for action on climate change and fairness Natan Doron The Fabian Society.

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Presentation on theme: "Building support for action on climate change and fairness Natan Doron The Fabian Society."— Presentation transcript:

1 Building support for action on climate change and fairness Natan Doron The Fabian Society

2 Contents Why is public support important? Why fairness and what is it? Fairness applied to climate change Key messages from the research What this means for policy (with a couple of examples)

3 Why is public support important?

4 Democracy is more than an exercise in voting Why is public support important?

5 Democracy is more than an exercise in voting Unpopular policies are vulnerable to opposition and ripe for U-turns Why is public support important?

6 Democracy is more than an exercise in voting Unpopular policies are vulnerable to opposition and ripe for U-turns Lack of public support can lead to policy not surviving electoral cycles Why is public support important?

7 Democracy is more than an exercise in voting Unpopular policies are vulnerable to opposition and ripe for U-turns Lack of public support can lead to policy not surviving electoral cycles Instability of policy can crowd out necessary private sector investment

8 Why is public support important? Democracy is more than an exercise in voting Unpopular policies are vulnerable to opposition and ripe for U-turns Lack of public support can lead to policy not surviving electoral cycles Instability of policy can crowd out necessary private sector investment If we need to rely heavily on behaviour change, we have to lay the groundwork now

9 Why fairness and what is it?

10 Some of the greatest burdens placed upon citizens are supported because they are accepted as legitimate and fair Why fairness and what is it?

11 Some of the greatest burdens placed upon citizens are supported because they are accepted as legitimate and fair Tax Why fairness and what is it?

12 Some of the greatest burdens placed upon citizens are supported because they are accepted as legitimate and fair Tax Military service Why fairness and what is it?

13 Some of the greatest burdens placed upon citizens are supported because they are accepted as legitimate and fair Tax Military service Recycling Why fairness and what is it?

14 Politically influential demographic groups seem resistant to interventions to promote sustainable consumption… …and seem to regard such interventions as unfair…

15 …despite the fact that the same groups demonstrate strongly pro-social sentiments in other areas of behaviour…

16 Fairness applied to climate change

17 Thinking of climate change as a public good that can only be addressed by cooperation

18 Fairness applied to climate change Thinking of climate change as a public good that can only be addressed by cooperation The model we developed for approaching environmental issues from a fairness perspective involves people understanding three key components of information

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20 Key messages 1.Fairness and citizenship can drive support for sustainable consumption – but only if people understand the social context of behaviour People who are on higher incomes and are polluting are acting socially irresponsible and therefore in a sense being unfair to their fellow citizens [Male, Glasgow]

21 2.Ensuring everyone cooperates is key for fairness – so regulation and enforcement can be crucial in building public support for behaviour change Everyone’s main concern is that it has got to be one rule, it has got to be one rule for everybody [Female, Coventry] Key messages

22 3.People want to feel as if they are cooperating in an endeavour; even if compulsion is used, people want measures to target the product or activity rather than the individual Key messages

23 4.People think sustainability policies should be progressive: the greatest burdens of behavour change should be on those with the greatest ability to reduce their consumption... Well...richer people can afford to have treble glazing. Poorer people, who have those landlords...forget it – they’re not going to put treble glazing in any windows [Female, Central London] Key messages

24 5.‘Economic’ approaches, though supported in some contexts, are often seen to fail the fairness test I think it’s unfair on pensioners and students because they’re not in a position to pay. If you’re on low income you haven’t got the ability to make a choice, which is different to if you’ve got the money and you decide [Female, Barnet] Key messages

25 6.Link the argument for behaviour change to the moral and policy arguments for sustainabilty People need to get some facts and see what is happening around them...they need to realise the impact it’s and accept responsibility [Female, Llanelli] Key messages

26 7.Understanding the difference between people liking a policy and people supporting a policy because they see it as legitimate Well, I wouldn’t like doing it. I would have to make changes that I wouldn’t like, but I feel that it’s necessary and it seems fair to me [Female, Glasgow] Key messages

27 Paying extra for water

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29 Food waste

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33 Discussions If you’d like to follow up on any of the information in this presentation please contact


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