Time to reach beyond the ‘elite’
Why carbon budgets could be next in line for a populist backlash – and how to avoid it
The rejection of the EU by a (slim) majority in the Brexit vote in June 2016 offers a glimpse of how support for actions to cut carbon emissions may be undermined if more is not done to nurture public understanding of, involvement in, and consent for such actions.
What we now have to call ‘the liberal metropolitan elite’ has been pursuing a social and economic programme which is justified and beneficial in their eyes and which has, by and large, enjoyed popular support in general (though not always in the particular).
But they forgot (for about 30 years) to spend time engaging with the ‘general public’, listening to their views and developing understanding of what it was all for and why it was the best course to follow – perhaps adjusting that course slightly in response to what they had heard.
In their case, it was deepening membership of the EU. In our case (and that ‘our’ isn’t just CSE but all of the green lobby and many other parts of the liberal metropolitan elite), it’s action on reducing carbon emissions. And we, too, have been forgetting to engage, listen and develop understanding – for about 15 years.
But, for reasons outlined in the opening section of a new discussion paper by CSE Chief Executive Simon Roberts, the transition to a low carbon society arguably requires the involvement and consent of ‘the people’ even more than membership of the EU. This is because it will have even more impact on the way we live our daily lives and the choices available to us…………..
To read the full blog and access the paper it is based on: https://www.cse.org.uk/news/view/2174