A Net Zero Principles Framework: Fundamental Questions for Public Policy Analysis

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The necessity of transitioning to net zero economies is widely recognised by the wider scientific (including social science) community, policymakers, business and the wider public. In response to advice from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC, 2019), the UK Government has set a target for a net zero carbon economy by 2050, with the Scottish Government having lined up with an earlier 2045 target (given Scotland’s resource base and capacity for more rapid decarbonisation). Meeting these commitments requires that different departments of the government can effectively work both with each other, and the wider industry, public and research communities, to determine how best to achieve this transition, securing opportunities for economic and societal gain while minimising any potential negative impacts.
This raises a particular challenge in that the required research and knowledge base to support the net zero transition cuts across many disciplines and a diversity of expert and stakeholder communities, where multiple technical ‘languages’ are used, and different perspectives taken in setting and addressing questions. Thus, there is an urgent need to establish common frameworks and languages in setting and addressing the multitude of research requirements in an integrated and informative way. In this brief we consider what such a framework may look like if we take one of the key net zero challenges to be understanding the policy, political economy and societal consequences of any net zero action or ‘pathway’ to be. Here we present a ‘first draft’ of our ‘Net Zero Principles Framework’, with the aim of opening a dialogue across research, policy and industry communities to enable further co-creation.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationGlasgow
PublisherUniversity of Strathclyde
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2020


  • renewable energy policy
  • climate change
  • power network
  • hydro energy
  • net zero carbon


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