We were very glad to see the arrival of the report on behaviour change and energy use published a couple of weeks ago by the Cabinet Office, DECC and DCLG. We were particularly excited to see reference made to some of our work on the diffusion of environmental behaviours.
The report explains how the latest insights in behavioural economics and psychology are shaping understanding of how people can be encouraged to adopt energy efficient behaviours. It outlines a number of large-scale trials which are to be undertaken to test the effectiveness of different behaviour change approaches in reducing energy consumption. (Even Ben Goldacre was impressed.)
We all know by now that dramatic improvements in energy efficiency are required if we are to meet our GHG obligations; and we know, too, that ‘behaviour change’ needs to prove itself to the policy sceptics and cost-benefit analysis addicts if it is to progress from Nudge-buzz flavour of the month to mainstream tool in the policy armoury. The trials proposed in the Cabinet Office paper are important; we’ll be watching carefully.