93 per cent of public favour greener lifestyles post-Covid

“We discussed the coronavirus outbreak at the climate assembly and it was quite clear that many of the assembly members felt that this period should be taken as an opportunity to encourage a green economic recovery with a focus on promoting cleaner, greener lifestyles and an economy that prizes sustainability over short-term benefits that would harm the planet.” The Climate Assembly UK calls on the government to deliver a post-coronavirus recovery that will not harm the planet further.

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Olivia Rutherford

93 per cent of the public say steps must be taken to encourage lifestyle change post-coronavirus to meet the UK’s net-zero targets. 

Results from the Climate Assembly UK, a group representative of the UK public brought together to give the government an understanding of the public's views on how the UK can achieve net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2050, spoke decidedly in favour of changes to the economy and lifestyles to reflect net-zero targets. 

In an interim briefing released today (23 June) on Covid-19, economic recovery and the path to net-zero, 79 per cent of the 108 assembly members ‘strongly agreed’ or ‘agreed’ that the government’s economic strategy for post-coronavirus recovery should be designed to help achieve net-zero carbon emissions.

Correspondingly, 93 per cent ‘strongly agreed’ or ‘agreed’ that as lockdown eases, government, employers and/or others should take steps to encourage green lifestyle changes to make daily life more compatible with reaching net-zero.

The assembly had met in Birmingham between January and March this year, however, as it was no longer possible to hold the remaining sessions in person due to the coronavirus lockdown measures, further meetings were held via virtual conferencing in April and May

Participants were selected by random stratified sampling to represent the UK’s population in terms of demographics and varying levels of concern about climate change. 

Reflecting on the interim briefing, Climate Assembly member Ibrahim, a GP from Surrey, said: “The coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown have had a huge effect on the economy and lives of people. It has become important for the government, Parliament and business organisations to strongly consider a recovery approach that will not cause further harm to the planet.

“We discussed the coronavirus outbreak at the climate assembly and it was quite clear that many of the assembly members felt that this period should be taken as an opportunity to encourage a green economic recovery with a focus on promoting cleaner, greener lifestyles and an economy that prizes sustainability over short term benefits that would harm the planet.

“We wanted to make sure that our views were available now so that the government can incorporate them into its economic recovery plan.”

The interim briefing will feature in the Committee for Climate Change’s progress update to Parliament before the summer recess on 25 June. It is published ahead of the Climate Assembly’s final report delivered in September 2020.

You can read more about the climate assembly on its website