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Placing people at the heart of climate action

25 May, 2022

Placing people at the heart of climate action

Benjamin K. Sovacool

Jillian Anable

Research paper   FAIR

Patrick Devine-Wright , Lorraine Whitmarsh, Birgitta Gatersleben, Saffron O’Neill, Sarah Hartley, Kate Burningham, Benjamin Sovacool, Stewart Barr and Jillian Anable


Profound societal change along with continued technical improvements will be required to meet our climate goals, as well as to improve people’s quality of life and ensure thriving economies and ecosystems. Achieving the urgent and necessary transformations laid out in the recently published IPCC report will require placing people at the heart of climate action. Tackling climate change cannot be achieved solely through technological breakthroughs or new climate models. We must build on the strong social science knowledge base and develop a more visible, responsive and interdisciplinary-oriented social science that engages with people and is valued in its diversity by decision-makers from government, industry, civil society and law. Further, we need to design interventions that are both effective at reducing emissions and achieve wider societal goals such as wellbeing, equity, and fairness. Given that all climate solutions will involve people in one way or another, the social sciences have a vital role to play.

Publication details

Devine-Wright, P., Whitmarsh, L., Gatersleben, B., O’Neill, S., Hartley, S., Burningham, K., Sovacool, B.K. and Anable, J. 2022. Placing people at the heart of climate action. PLOS Climate, 1(5): e0000035. 10.1371/journal.pclm.0000035Opens in a new tab  

Banner photo credit: Alireza Attari on Unsplash