Low carbon future
To contain climate change within safe levels, we will need to adapt to living a 'low carbon lifestyle'. This transition is likely to be challenging but it also offers potential for creating a better society for everyone, with an emphasis on wellbeing and community cohesion.
Organisations and individuals alike will need to reduce the amount of fossil fuel they consume, use more renewable energy and adopt more energy-efficient processes, technologies and products. There will be a mix of obligation and necessity driving this shift.
Legislation requiring organisations to reduce the carbon footprint of their activities, such as the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme for very large organisations and regulations for the construction industry, will continue to increase and strengthen. This is likely to drive up the price of goods and services in all areas.
Alternative supplies and solutions
As global supply chains of food and other resources become affected by climate change, markets of locally sourced and traded goods are likely to grow in response. We could see a culture of increasing self-sufficiency develop - for example, as people choose to grow more of their own food.
Green technologies will also expand with demand, and many expect that a virtuous circle of new jobs to replace those in outmoded carbon intensive industries will emerge too.
Other win-win choices already exist. For example, the relatively low one-off costs of insulating a property reduces carbon emissions and fuel bills now, and will protect residents against escalating energy prices in the future. Similarly, using information and communications technology can be very energy efficient and enables organisations to work smarter and achieve more as well.
A better society?
Creating a low carbon society could also provide new opportunities to help create a better society, with greater wellbeing for individuals and communities.
Research shows that consuming more material goods does not increase happiness. What really makes us happy (once our basic needs like food and shelter have been taken care of) is better relationships with people, being able to express ourselves and feeling like we belong in society.
As goods become more expensive both in monetary terms and carbon cost, we could see a shift in cultural norms away from consumerist and materialist behaviour to a stronger focus on free or low cost experiences such as enjoying people's company, reflecting, thinking, playing and being creative, for example.
Voluntary and community organisations could have a valuable role to play to help foster this positive, sustainable future.
Implications for your organisation
What impact could a low carbon future have on your beneficiaries and your work?
Advice and support
- Funding and finance
- Coping with cuts
- Addressing needs
- Managing change
- Planning for the future
- Involving people
- Public Service Delivery
- Governance and leadership
- Compact Advocacy programme
- Campaigning and influencing policy
- Collaborative working
- ICT (information and communication technology)
- Climate change
- People, HR and employment