|Magna Carta Memorial, by Karnaphuli / CC BY-NC 2.0|
Category: Governance (Page 2 of 2)
‘Climate change’ and ‘behaviour change’ are both central themes in the policy landscape, academic research, and media discourse of the twenty-first century. The former has been described by the former Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Annan, as “the greatest humanitarian challenge facing mankind today”, a statement that carries added weight in light of the complete devastation inflicted upon the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan – one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall. The latter, ‘behaviour change’, has become a ubiquitous phrase in policymaking circles, representing a radical shift towards a non-regulatory policymaking paradigm, often referred to as nudging.
The 2008 Climate Change Act established the world’s first legally binding climate change target. This has committed the UK to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 – a target that requires a major change in the way we live, representative of an unprecedented reversal of a universal trend among industrialised nations concerning the relationship between economic growth and carbon emission. The key question going forward, therefore, is: How is such a radical behavioural/cultural transformation going to be brought about? The current government’s answer appears to rest heavily upon behaviour change techniques that seek to nudge (implicitly encourage, incentivise, etc.) citizens’ toward more sustainable behaviour patterns.
My answer to the question posed in the thread title is a ncaa tentative ‘no’. My answer is tentative partly because I usually bestow considerable value on democratic choice and partly because I remain worried that my natural negative reaction to all Tory policy might cloud my judgement. But, to the best I can exempt myself from this partiality, I do think that the ‘no’ answer is correct. Here is my reasoning.