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Climate change mitigation behaviours and interventions in the context of COVID-19

Climate change is a phenomenon that can be directly impacted by human behaviour, either helping to mitigate the impact of climate change or potentially to exacerbate the negative effects. 

Broadly, the types of behaviour that contribute to climate change mitigation can be grouped Into: heat/energy behaviours; transport/mobility behaviours; consumption behaviours; and electricity/energy behaviours. Although there is an existing knowledge and evidence-base of climate-change mitigation behaviours (behavioural barriers, facilitators and interventions), observable changes have occurred to these behaviours as a result of COVID-19 response measures imposed across the UK. 

Furthermore, the different types of climate change behaviours can also have impacts on individual and population level health which may reflect i) co-benefits (where climate change mitigation behaviours have positive effects on health outcomes and vice versa) or potentially ii) conflicts (where climate change mitigation benefits may have negative health effects, and vice versa) - a topic which requires further exploration. 

Cracked dry hard earth with small sapling growing through crack


Project aim

Given this, it is important to: 

  1. examine the impact of COVID-19 on these behaviours (e.g., understanding how barriers and facilitators to these behaviours may have changed); 
  2. understand the relationship between these climate change mitigation behaviours and health related outcomes, and; 
  3. understand gaps in our knowledge and understanding re: the effectiveness of these mitigation behaviours on public health outcomes. 
We are undertaking a behavioural and intervention mapping process as part of this project to address these issues and identify future work to help address the gaps identified. 

Anticipated impacts

Specifically, the team are conducting a two-stage process:

  • Stage 1 involves the conduct of a Delphi study and workshop to examine the public health consequences of prioritised climate change mitigation behaviours impacted by Covid-19 in the UK and to identify ongoing behavioural interventions/ gaps in the research base.  
  • Stage 2 will involve the team taking insights and outcomes from this mapping exercise to subsequently develop either a pilot intervention or intervention evaluation (depending on the prioritisation and gap analysis). 

Project dates

Partners

This project is a collaboration with the NIHR HPRU in Environmental Change and Health, and cross-government colleagues working on the Net Zero strategy.

Lead researcher