The virus and the climate: winning consent for Net Zero

This latest report from UK think tank SMF looks at how politicians must deliver tangible benefits from a ‘green recovery’ or squander voter support.

This report argues that politicians must deliver immediate and tangible benefits from a post-COVID-19 “green recovery” or risk squandering support from voters. During the UK’s lockdown, the public accepted considerable social and economic disruption to mitigate the effects of coronavirus. Some have argued that this sets a precedent for further interventions to tackle climate change. This report, informed by the findings of a recent Social Market Foundation roundtable, cautions that approach. It argues that public support for climate action is not unconditional and that appealing to the public’s willingness to endure further hardship in order to tackle climate change – something voters perceive to be abstract and remote – could damage the Net Zero agenda.

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