Understanding family and community vulnerabilities in transition to net zero
- Start date: 19 July 2021
- End date: 31 December 2022
- Funder: Nuffield Foundation
- Value: £250,000
- Partners and collaborators: Young Foundation, University of York, Trinity College Dublin
- Primary investigator: Professor Lucie Middlemiss
- External primary investigator: Emily Morrison, Young Foundation
- Co-investigators: Gill Main, Anne Owen
- External co-investigators: Dr Carolyn Snell, The University of York; Dr Yekaterina Chzhen, Trinity College Dublin; Victoria Boelman, Young Foundation
This project will build a framework for understanding and responding to how the UK’s transition to net zero will affect families and the communities in which they live.
The 2019 amendment to the Climate Change Act cemented the UK’s commitment to being a climate leader, establishing a target of being net-zero on all greenhouse gases by 2050. Existing research indicates that certain socio-economic and demographic groups will be disproportionately burdened during the transition to net-zero. Families living with vulnerabilities like low income, poor housing and lack of access to services will have a different experience to families without disadvantage. Also, that the impact of a net-zero transition will vary regionally, with particular concern for Yorkshire and the North of England.
However, there is insufficient knowledge on how these different elements will interact with one another and a lack of consolidation of existing research. Building a comprehensive framework, of the risks and opportunities that families and communities face as a result of the transition, will be done in three stages:
- Reviewing current literature, case studies and existing data to establish what is known about the factors that will impact families and communities, and families and communities’ capabilities to respond. This information will be used to create a draft framework and identify gaps in current knowledge.
- Testing the framework in participatory community-based workshops to understand the lived experience of families within communities to develop a co-produced, revised framework that identifies key indicators of vulnerability or capability.
- Further developing the framework with stakeholders across the social, welfare, economic, energy and environmental sectors, and in national and local government.
This project will provide the strategic insights necessary and policy recommendations desirable to enable government, practitioners, and other relevant parties to plan for and manage a ‘just transition’. Ensuring that everyone benefits from the transition to net-zero will help to ensure the UK’s success in fighting climate change. These insights will be published alongside the framework, as well as community engagement and educational materials to engage as wide an audience as possible.