Citizen-centred policy and behavioural change towards carbon neutrality: perspectives and recommendations
Over the years, individuals have tended to adopt increasingly carbon-intensive lifestyles, posing a significant barrier to the achievement of emission reduction targets and of the broader Sustainable Development Goals. While various regulatory and operational measures have been implemented in an attempt to tackle climate change, there is still a lack of focus on behavioural aspects related to carbon-neutral lifestyle adoption. Current policies are mainly targeted towards the supply side and do not adequately incorporate citizen’s perspective. This policy brief advocates the importance of making a shift towards citizen-centric policies, including targeted behavioural advice aimed at the individual. It does so by exploring the relation between greenhouse gas emissions, carbon-neutral lifestyles and economic growth, while evaluating the links between human activities and emissions. It also discusses the operative feasibility regarding the inclusion of lifestyle advice in emissions reduction policies by assessing the underlying metrics to successful implementation. Because deviating from the current policy-making paradigm requires a deeper understanding of the obstacles to implementation, this policy brief includes a detailed discussion on how to make this new policy framework actionable. Finally, the positive spillovers of implementing such a policy approach in relation to citizen engagement are highlighted, underlining the importance of providing guidance and education for citizens, enabling the achievement of tangible results on a broader scale.
This Policy Brief is a scientific output related to FEEM’s research project Citizens Acting on Mitigation Pathways through Active Implementation of a Goal-setting Network – CAMPAIGNers.