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Projects and activities | 1 December 2020

A European Behavioural Green Deal

We aim to create a community of relevant experts and policymakers, to take full advantage of the behavioural scientific knowledge on the European Green Deal.

Context

The European Green Deal sets the EU’s goal to become the first carbon neutral continent by 2050. Reaching this goal will require significant changes in various areas, like nutrition, energy production and consumption, or biodiversity protection. In these areas, many strategies to accomplish significant reductions of carbon dioxide emissions require profound technological innovations and systemic changes.

As acknowledged in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on 1.5 degrees Celsius (°C), however, changes in human behaviour and lifestyles are also needed to enable a consistent system transition. Individual change is possible in many, if not all areas of the European Green Deal and can proof indispensable to reaching its goals.

Behavioural insights provide the necessary knowledge and tools to design alternative and improve traditional policies within the European Green Deal. Behavioural and behaviourally informed interventions have repeatedly been shown to increase the uptake of pro-environmental behaviour. This follows from the observation that part of the cause of climate change is behavioural.

However, behavioural insights are not a panacea. Due to the enormous challenge posed by climate change, their contribution to spur climate action can fall short of the needed impact. The necessary results may only be attainable with traditional environmental policies, such as carbon pricing or bans.

Still, in addition to accelerating the uptake of climate action, there are additional benefits to applying behavioural insights in the European Green Deal policymaking process. Specifically, behavioural insights can reduce the compliance costs of traditional policies. Taking into account the peculiarities of human decision making can frame policies in beneficial ways. Additionally, behavioural insights can help structure the participatory process imminent in the European Green Deal’s approach. A considerable part of the response to climate change is politicized. Behavioural insights can provide the necessary tools and knowledge to address this.

Facilitating the exchange between European policymakers and behavioural scientists can ultimately benefit the goals of the European Green Deal. Creating a community of experts shall accomplish just that.

Goals

The project consists in establishing a platform for scientists and European policymakers to connect. We expect that this will significantly contribute to the success of the European Green Deal.

Researchers around the world gather relevant evidence. The network/community shall make the evidence visible, accessible, understandable, and actionable for relevant European policymakers. The community relies on the interest and participation of behavioural scientists and European policymakers.

Methods

To reach its goal, this project will explore strategies, tools and platforms, including the Knowledge for Policy platform of the European Commission, to facilitate and structure the exchange and communication between scientists and policymakers working on areas relevant to the European Green Deal.

Based on the identified strategies, tools and platforms, it shall create and enable a dynamic and largely self-contained community of behavioural experts and policymakers around the European Green Deal.

Expected outcomes

  • Maintain a platform to upload, categorize and access the condensed, policy-relevant insights from behavioural research
  • Organization of (online) workshops and events
  • Implement a “request-a-scientist” function, that would connect policymakers with a relevant behavioural scientist
  • Implement a “request-a-policymaker” function, that would connect scientists with relevant policymakers, in view of sharing information on the policy status of specific issues

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