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Building a social mandate for climate action: lessons from COVID-19

Howarth, Candice, Bryant, Peter, Corner, Adam, Fankhauser, Samuel ORCID: 0000-0003-2100-7888, Gouldson, Andrew, Whitmarsh, Lorraine and Willis, Rebecca (2020) Building a social mandate for climate action: lessons from COVID-19. Environmental and Resource Economics, 76 (4). 1107 - 1115. ISSN 0924-6460

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s10640-020-00446-9

Abstract

The COVID-19 imposed lockdown has led to a number of temporary environmental side effects (reduced global emissions, cleaner air, less noise), that the climate community has aspired to achieve over a number of decades. However, these benefits have been achieved at a massive cost to welfare and the economy. This commentary draws lessons from the COVID-19 crisis for climate change. It discusses whether there are more sustainable ways of achieving these benefits, as part of a more desirable, low carbon resilient future, in a more planned, inclusive and less disruptive way. In order to achieve this, we argue for a clearer social contract between citizens and the state. We discuss how COVID-19 has demonstrated that behaviours can change abruptly, that these changes come at a cost, that we need a ‘social mandate’ to ensure these changes remain in the long-term, and that science plays an important role in informing this process. We suggest that deliberative engagement mechanisms, such as citizens’ assemblies and juries, could be a powerful way to build a social mandate for climate action post-COVID- 19. This would enable behaviour changes to become more accepted, embedded and bearable in the long- term and provide the basis for future climate action.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.springer.com/journal/10640
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors
Divisions: Grantham Research Institute
Centre for Analysis of Risk & Regulation
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2020 16:27
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2020 23:26
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/105288

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