The Young Foundation’s Institute for Community Studies is launching a landmark research project, which will build an actionable framework for responding to the UK’s transition to net zero, and understanding how this shift will affect families and the communities in which they live.

The new project, which has been funded by the Nuffield Foundation, has been borne out of a desire to level the playing field as the UK moves towards a net zero carbon society.  

Fighting disadvantage

The research will identify how to mitigate the potential negative impacts that the UK’s transition to net zero by 2050 could have on the poorest 20% of families and communities, if local and national transition strategies do not take into account the specific needs of those communities. These groups include families living with vulnerabilities, such as low income, poor housing and lack of access to services, as well as specific identifies communities, with particular concern for post-industrial cities and areas such as Leeds, Newcastle, and the Welsh Valleys.  

The resulting framework is aimed at those leading transition strategies in national and local government, and the energy and social sectors. It will instantly enable users to assess the impact that the UK’s transition to net zero will have on families and local communities and plan for a ‘just’ transition to net zero – one that fights disadvantage, reduces inequalities, and ensures that everyone benefits from the UK’s success in fighting climate change.  

Important and timely

Emily Morrison, Head of the Institute for Community Studies, said: “We know from our research that, all too often, societal transition leaves behind the poorest families and communities in ways that is avoidable if researchers can work collaboratively with leaders, with a stake in all parts of the transition strategy. Achieving the social, economic, technological and behavioural shift that needs to happen for net zero requires researchers, innovators and policymakers to work with and listen to the communities it will most affect. We are thrilled that the Nuffield Foundation has chosen to fund this much-needed and inclusive research.”  

Alex Beer, Welfare Programme Head at the Nuffield Foundation, said: “This important research will provide timely insights into the costs and benefits of the transition to a net zero economy, and indicate how these can be shared more fairly across the UK population. By engaging with communities, researchers, and policymakers, the research team will help identify risks and ensure that the transition to net zero will improve people’s lives, as well as contributing to the fight against climate change.”  

The Institute for Community Studies and the Nuffield Foundation will be collaborating with researchers from The University of York, University of Leeds and Trinity College Dublin for the project, which will be completed in December 2022.  

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Climate change Inequality Posted on: 29 September 2021


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