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The role and effectiveness of climate commissions in engaging the public on climate change in the UK

Eyers, Aisling and Howarth, Candice (2024) The role and effectiveness of climate commissions in engaging the public on climate change in the UK. Environmental Science and Policy, 157. ISSN 1462-9011

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.envsci.2024.103760

Abstract

Against the backdrop of a fragmented and evolving governance landscape, this paper examines how effective climate commissions are in engaging the public to co-produce local climate action in the UK. Climate commissions are emerging amid heightened concerns regarding the top-down style of policymaking on climate change and resource-constrained local authorities. However, less is known about how they engage the public who are pivotal for climate action, both in signalling greater ambition from governments and through their own mitigation and adaptation efforts. This paper draws on qualitative interviews with an array of individuals both inside and outside climate commissions in the UK, and utilises Cash’s theoretical framework of ‘salience, legitimacy and credibility’ to assess how effective climate commissions are in engaging the public to co-produce local climate action. The findings indicate a discernible chasm between commissions and the broader public. Equally however, they provide hopeful perspectives into the effect that more collaborative engagement, that speaks to local concerns and leverages local knowledge, would have on commissions’ ‘salience, legitimacy and credibility’ and, additionally, the legitimacy of local authorities. Moreover, they suggest that deeper collaboration with local networks of community groups, who are not yet represented on commissions, could foster more sustained climate action. It concludes by considering the novel implications of these emergent insights for the Cash framework and what this means for commissions in their future engagement with the public.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/environmenta...
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author(s)
Divisions: Grantham Research Institute
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2024 10:51
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2024 02:33
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/122712

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