Failure to persuade public to change behavior means UK will miss net zero target, Lords warn | Climate News

A failure to persuade the public to change their behavior leaves the UK on track to meet its climate targets, according to a diverse group of lords.

A report by the group found that a third of the emissions the UK needs to cut by 2035 to limit the impacts of climate change must come from people changing their behaviour, for example insulating homes, using less energy and by being encouraged to travel, shop and eat more ecologically.

But the Government’s efforts are ‘seriously insufficient’ and will prevent the UK from reaching its goal of net zero emissions by 2050, the Lords Select Committee on Environment and Climate Change has said.

The report comes as Prime Minister Liz Truss comes under fire for having blocking plans for a public information campaign asking people to conserve energy during the winterand for supporting a program of mass energy efficiency in homes.

Last month, the government’s own climate and infrastructure advisers urged it to develop “credible policies” for building energy efficiency and provide a comprehensive energy advisory service.

People need to understand what changes “they need to make to their lifestyle and how they travel, how they use the energy in their homes and what they buy and what they eat…but there are just obstacles for people to effectively stop them for the time being,” Baroness Parminter told Sky News.

The committee has recommended measures such as eco-labeling on food; a tax on frequent travelers; toughen energy efficiency standards on new homes and create a contact service to guide households through the currently extremely confusing process of making their homes more energy efficient.

“Government needs to use all the levers it has, whether through regulation or tax incentives, to overcome some of these barriers of cost or accessibility, which prevent people from making the changes that we know from the evidence that people want to bring,” the liberal Democrat peer said.

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The report tells the government to learn from the success of the 5p plastic bag tax, the sugar tax and efforts to reduce smoking to change people’s behavior to reduce the impact on global warming.

Baroness Parminter said the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated “how people have responded to getting clear information from trusted sources to help build a coalition in support of the measures”.

The recommendations run counter to many conservatives who believe it is not the government’s job to tell people what to do.

MP Alexander Stafford, a member of the Conservative Environment Network of over 150 MPs, said ‘telling people how to live their lives and demanding behavior change won’t work’.

Instead, “we need to encourage technological innovation to create cheaper and greener goods and services” – as has partially happened with electric vehicles, he said.

He added: “It is wrong to suggest embracing coronavirus-like public communications and using regulation to restrict people’s choices without providing better alternatives to tackle climate change. It would divide people and undermine communities. efforts to unite the people behind environmental action.”

Report warns government to learn from success of 5p charge on plastic bags in supermarkets to change people’s behavior

The Lords also warned that policies needed to change people’s habits and meet net zero risk will be “undermined” by lobbying from the fossil fuel industry and parts of the food sector, similar to past lobbying by the great tobaccos.

Libby Peake, head of resource policy at think tank Green Alliance, said people ‘want to do the right thing on climate, but right now it may be too complicated or too expensive’ .

She told Sky News: ‘We will only be successful in tackling climate change if we make the best thing for the environment the easiest choice.

A government spokesperson said it would provide a full response in due course, but said it remained “fully committed” to the net zero goal and had also launched the Net Zero Review.

“By bringing together public and business views, this review will ensure that the UK’s fight against climate change maximizes economic growth, energy security and affordability for consumers and businesses,” they said. added.

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