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Public support for decarbonisation policies: Between self-interest and social need for alleviating energy and transport poverty in the United Kingdom

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  • Paul Upham, University of Sussex, University of Groningen
  • ,
  • Neil Simcock, Liverpool John Moores University
  • ,
  • Benjamin Sovacool
  • Gerardo A.Torres Contreras, University of Sussex
  • ,
  • Kirsten E.H. Jenkins, University of Edinburgh
  • ,
  • Mari Martiskainen, University of Sussex

Policies for transitions to decarbonised energy and transport systems have implications for social welfare. Here we firstly investigate, via focus groups, public support for policies that have implications for energy and transport poverty in a country with a sizeable incidence of both, the United Kingdom (UK). We then examine which of the publics’ policy preferences concur with those of a wider group of expert stakeholders (n = 47), observing concurrence in the top choices of both for: (i) better public transport; mandating improved energy efficiency in (ii) rental housing and (iii) new homes; and (iv) expanding an income supplement scheme (such as the Warm Home Discount). While the public are relatively supportive of policy for electric vehicles, expert stakeholders see the shift to convergent electrification and digitalisation in domestic contexts as carrying risks for lower income households and those less digitally literate. We highlight that many of the public questioned view themselves as likely to be worthy of assistance, given the level of price inflation in the UK. We conclude that decarbonisation policies require careful attention not only to infrastructure, but to social welfare policy if they are to carry public support.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100099
JournalEnergy and Climate Change
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s)

    Research areas

  • Decarbonisation, Double energy vulnerability, Energy poverty, Fuel poverty, Transport poverty, United Kingdom

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