On 23 October 2020 the online symposium on “Managing the Green Transition”, organised by the EC Competence Centre on Behavioural Insights took place. The symposium addressed policymakers and behavioural scientists, and discussed learnings from the Covid-19 pandemic for the climate crisis with a focus on the individual behavioural level.
The event aroused great interest from scientists and policymakers. Almost 300 participants registered and more than 160 people were connected from the very beginning. Of those registered, more than 120 were from EU institutions and more than 100 came from universities and research centres across Europe. People from 35 different countries representing 43 different nationalities were registered.
These figures greatly exceeded expectations from the organisers. Participant engagement was also remarkable and the discussion was very lively and engaging.
The high turn-up for such a specific topic, as well as the overall positive feedback by colleagues and participants, signals that
- Similar events on different topics can prove insightful in the future. They will provide an excellent opportunity to bring policymakers and scientists together.
- Pursuing work on this topic can lead to fruitful contributions to policy in the future. There are important insights from an overarching behavioural perspective on Covid-19 and the European Green Deal.
With respect to the content that was presented and discussed, the following aspects stood out
- Narratives can matter, but they have to be punchy, salient, targeted, and repeated.
- Behavioural change is not the silver bullet to the climate crisis! Next to generating collective action across levels, behavioural insights can have a very promising role for increasing the acceptance of conventional (and more promising) policies and for structuring the participatory process.
- Behavioural fatigue can be an issue, although “fatigue” may not be the right label for such a complex phenomenon that includes, amongst others, risk perceptions.
- Misinformation and science communication play a central role for Covid-19, as well as for climate change.
The organisers plan to work together with the speakers to provide a discussion paper summarizing and discussing the central aspects.
Marianna BAGGIO, Hendrik BRUNS, and Nives DELLA VALLE
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