In a hearing of the House of Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee yesterday [26 April, 2022] Sir Patrick Vallance – the Government Chief Scientist – indicated the role and trust of climate science in helping achieve climate targets.
He said: “I think there needs to be clear, consistent messaging. And if you look at the data from the public, they do trust scientists and therefore, climate scientists and others who can comment on this are trusted voices in this space and can give neutral policy, independent science advice, which I think is helpful.”
Talking about the individual measures which will be required to help meet climate targets, Sir Patrick added: “One of the problems is that the individual actions appear trivial. You know, I’m going to cycle a bit more. I’m going to eat a bit less meat, I’m going to fly less. But aggregated across entire populations, they make a big difference. And so making sure that people understand what they can do as individuals is an important part of this.”
Recognising the need for the public to be ‘enabled’ to make climate-friendly choices, Sir Patrick added: “Cycling is easier if you’ve got an infrastructure to cycle on. It requires reducing what Bill Gates has called the green premium. If it costs you ten times more to do something, it’s very difficult for people to do. And therefore, really working on reducing that cost and making the affordability work and making sure that regulation and barriers are removed and regulation is in the right place to drive behaviours in that way. So I think there’s a series of levers that need to be looked at rather than thinking this is a dramatic, sudden, all society big change. I mean it’s a series of things that need to take place.”