Social Science Approaches to Understanding the Implications of a Net Zero Transformation of Society

Olivia Thompson, Melanie Rohse, Jake Barber

Research output: Book/ReportOther report


The transition to a net-zero society requires novel regulatory and policy approaches acknowledging the socio-cultural shifts accompanying climate change adaptations. Whether it’s building a new home or the evolving relationships and interactions between people and products, effective policymaking needs to systematically and intrinsically account for such transitions and ensure that they are aligned with net-zero targets. This policy brief delves into the employment of social science theories such as Reflexive Governance, Actor Network Theory, and Ecologies of Participation to understand these transitions.

Emerging from a placement at the Office for Product Safety and Standards, UK, the study underscores the importance of reflexive, flexible, inclusive and interactive policymaking that integrates public engagement and considers the intricate relationships between social, technological, and natural actors. It underscores the need for an adaptive governance framework that is receptive to the dynamic interplay of societal needs, technological advancements, and environmental imperatives, together with the significant role of public participation in facilitating a cohesive approach to achieving net zero goals.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUK Energy Research Centre (UKERC)
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2024

Publication series

NameEnergy SHINES (Energy Social sciences and Humanities Insights for Non-Energy Sectors)


  • net zero
  • society
  • transformation

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