Responding to the publication today (30 March 2023) of the UK Government’s updated net zero strategy, the Academy of Social Sciences has urged the UK Government to make use of the social sciences’ untapped potential to achieve its goals.
Last year, UKRI and the ESRC recognised the pivotal role of social scientists to support moves towards net zero, with an investment of £6.25m into interdisciplinary environmental social science. Aimed at creating a strong network of outstanding researchers, building further capacity and enhancing research into policy, it will offer advice and guidance in how to achieve the human and institutional change needed to deliver net zero and other critical environmental, biodiversity and sustainability goals.
Urging the UK Government to build on this, the Chief Executive of the Academy of Social Sciences, Rita Gardner, said:
“Government aspirations to hit net zero by 2050 cannot be met by technological innovation alone – society, organisations and individuals have a key role to play through our own actions. That’s where good social science has a critical role to play: behavioural research can understand what will make people feel motivated to change their habits, and we also need expertise to ensure policy changes for net zero also deliver tangible societal benefits around health, communities, jobs and biodiversity.”
You can read more about the role of social scientists in helping the UK meet its net zero targets in this blog by Prof. Lorraine Whitmarsh, Director of the Centre for Climate Change & Social Transformations (CAST) at the University of Bath.