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Energy 2050 Pathways: a public dialogue

Sciencewise funded project 2010 - 2011


The 2008 Climate Change Act committed the UK to a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 80% by 2050 with 1990 as baseline. This legally-binding emissions reduction target is unique and sets the UK on a highly ambitious decarbonisation path over the coming four decades.

Find out more about the background to Energy 2050 Pathways.

Key Components

There are four dialogue components to the programme overall, all based around DECC’s 2050 Pathways Calculator:

1. To run a national Youth Panel dialogue and visioning process with 16-25 year old champions from key UK civil society organisations.
2. To run 2050 Pathways Local Deliberative Dialogues to engage representatives of the public in local communities across the UK.
3. To develop a front-end to the 2050 Calculator which engages, informs and consults the user about the twin challenges of climate change and energy security.
4. To develop dialogue toolkits to support the public and schools in engaging with the energy 2050 pathways tools.

Find out more about the components of Energy 2050 Pathways.

Key Impacts

It is too early to assess long-term policy impacts of the four strands
of this engagement programme. However, the pathways chosen by
participants have been reported to and have informed Government
decision-making. The outcomes have formed a key part of the
debate around the options for achieving the UK’s carbon targets
and delivering the low carbon economy, and have been presented
to senior decision-makers. In particular, the Youth Panel received
significant exposure to Government Ministers and key advisers.
DECC is interested in the results of which pathways, worlds and
levers are chosen in the My2050 simulation, as well as the
demographic, attitudinal and performance data collected from
those who submitted pathways through the My2050 simulation.
These data, plus the results of the deliberative dialogues, have
provided useful evidence in support of the common themes
identified via the 2050 Pathways Calculator2. The engagement
programme has increased DECC’s understanding of public views
on energy and climate change, and their levels of emotion and
ownership over those views.


“This report by DECC’s Youth Panel is a remarkable piece of work which gives a fresh perspective on our energy policies... I now invite other young people to get involved and continue the strong partnership between DECC and the next generation.”
Charles Hendry, Energy and climate change minister
“There’s no silver bullet solution to the UK’s energy future. This project is all about getting to grips with the hard choices and trade-offs which need to be made, choices which will affect our homes, communities and the way we travel. We can’t afford to leave it till tomorrow.”
Chris Huhne, Energy and Climate Change Secretary

Delivered by

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is responsible for all aspects of UK energy policy, and for tackling global climate change on behalf of the UK.

Delib are a digital democracy company, and will be developing the front end for the 2050 calculator.

Ipsos MORI
Ipsos MORI is a UK market research company and is delivering the deliberative dialogues.

Involve are specialists in public participation and will be developing a dialogue toolkit from this project.

OPM is an independent centre for the development of public services and provides consultancy, research and leadership development. OPM will be responsible for the evaluation of the project.

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