In 2024 Greener Vision is spearheading a series of Pathways to Net Zero events that will explore how to develop a response to the climate crisis commensurate to the scale of challenge. The series will build on insights from the Greener Vision: The Art of Seeing, and will develop further ‘The Pillars of Unity’ outlined in the report, to explore how we might embrace more holistic thinking and develop an approach that creates unity rather than division.
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Efforts to tackle climate change are moving into a critical phase. Extreme weather events are intensifying. 2022 was the world’s hottest year on record and 2023 looks set to be even hotter. According to the UN, without decisive action we are headed for a temperature rise of up to 2.6°C. Much steeper emissions reductions are required to avert a future dominated by catastrophic climate impacts.
A shift towards energy demand reduction is urgently needed. However, the politics make this challenging. The ‘gilet jaunes’ in France successfully mobilised against attempts to increase taxes on fuel. In Germany the Alternative for Germany party successfully mobilised against a push to require installation of heat pumps. In the UK a byelection defined by a fight over expanding London’s ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) empowered parts of the right who want to roll back on net zero.
The UK has hitherto benefited from a strong cross-party consensus on net zero. However, as it becomes clear that net zero will be disruptive to the status quo, the once unshakeable political consensus begins to look less solid. The Prime Minister has announced that the government is to scale down some of its biggest net zero commitments including plans to phase out the installation of new gas boilers and delaying a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans.
As we head towards the next UK general election, net zero is likely to become increasingly more politicised. The big risk is that such electioneering will undermine public support for net zero.
- How can we approach climate policy differently?
- How can we avoid short-term thinking and stop political expediency from driving critical decisions?
- How can we respond adequately to the climate crisis in a fragmented world and create more unity rather than division?
THE PILLARS OF UNITY
‘A sacred unity of the biosphere’ – we need a radical realignment of how we perceive ourselves in relation to others and the environment on which we depend. A rationalist mindset sees the individual as separate and creates economic systems which unsustainably plunder finite resources.
Seeing the whole picture – we need to become more honest and self-aware about our decision-making. Too often the lens through which we perceive is faulty. Are the assumptions underpinning our response to the climate crisis fit for purpose? What are we not seeing, or choosing not to see?
Integrating heart and mind – we need to engage our emotional brains in climate change. The tendency to separate thoughts and feelings causes confusion and is destabilising. The ultimate goal is for the whole mind to be in balance with thoughts, feelings and intuitions working together in harmony.
Healing the whole system – we need to address the root causes of climate change: our addiction to fossil fuels. Pricing properly for carbon is a fundamental building block. We need to design fairer and more equitable economic systems that allow both humans and the environment to thrive.
Citizens of One World – we need to connect with our natural empathy and respect for each other and all living species. We should seek to promote intrinsic and “bigger than self” values. Climate change is one issue that could bring us together and help us overcome our historic divisions.
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About the Author
This post was written by Claire Haigh. Founder & CEO of Greener Vision & Executive Director of the Transport Knowledge Hub. Claire was previously CEO of Greener Transport Solutions (2021-2022) and CEO of Greener Journeys (2009-2020).