Third of emissions cuts must come from behaviour changes, say Lords

A report published on Wednesday by the upper house’s environment and climate change committee urged ministers to lead a public campaign and use regulations and taxation to guide public behaviour change in order to stop the decline of nature and reach legally binding net zero targets.

A third of the reductions required to meet interim targets of reducing emissions by 78% in 13 years [2040] had to come from people changing how they travel, what they eat and how they heat their homes, peers said.

The report, In our hands, behaviour change for climate and environmental goals, said: “We cannot rely on large-scale and unproven technologies alone to achieve the transition to net zero.”

The scale of behaviour change required and its impact on reaching net zero was shown in evidence to peers from Dr Viktoria Spaiser and Prof Cristina Leston-Bandeira of the University of Leeds. They said the average UK household carbon footprint of 8.5 tonnes CO2 a year compares with 2.5 tonnes a year required to be consistent with emissions reduction targets to 2030 and 0.7 tonnes of CO2 a year to meet the net zero goal by 2050.