Big Issue Vendor

Choose your own adventure to fight climate change

Decide how the UK should work towards net-zero emissions, when changes should be rolled out and how much it should cost – and see if you could beat the government's ambitions
A comprehensive roll out of electric car charging points by 2027 could create 45,000 jobs, according to the calculator. Image: Pexels

Would you pay 16p per week to cover a large electric car-charging network across the country by 2026, creating 36,000 jobs and helping fight climate change? Or would you hold off until 2027, paying out the same amount but adding another 11,000 jobs to that figure? 

Do you think low-carbon heating systems should be covered by taxes, costing well-off people more, or through energy bills, meaning higher costs for low-income families?

The UK’s journey to net-zero carbon emissions will mean radical changes to the way people live their lives, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be costly.

Members of the public are being asked to better the UK government’s efforts on the journey to net-zero emissions in a ‘choose your own adventure’ style climate calculator.

The tool, launched 100 days from the beginning of the COP26 climate summit, lets users choose the measures they believe should be brought in to curb global warming, how soon they should be introduced, and how they should be paid for.

Visitors to the site can see the number of green jobs that could be created as part of each policy — covering public transport and car use, home heating systems and taxes on red meat — as well as explaining how much implementing the policy would cost a person per week, based on their salary.

Support The Big Issue and our vendors by signing up for a subscription. 

“You have the greatest opportunity yet to step into the shoes of our political leaders and set out your ideal path to net zero,” said Charles Seaford, senior fellow at think tank Demos, which launched the tool alongside WWF, National Grid and Scottish Power.

“The Climate Assembly was a game-changer in involving people in the UK’s mission to tackle climate change.

“Building on its success, we are now asking people across the whole of the UK to have their say on how we can meet our 2030 climate goals to save the planet.”

Every person’s choices are summarised with a breakdown of how much extra could be taken out of their household budget per week, as well as for the most well-off and most disadvantaged families. The tool also shows exactly how many new jobs would be created and what other benefits would be brought about as a byproduct of their climate policies, such as reduced air pollution and improved health levels across the country.

As well as setting a target to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, the Westminster government committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 68 per cent — compared to 1990 levels — by 2030. The climate calculator shows users how their plans measure up against that goal, and if their ideas would prove more effective than policies already announced by ministers.

“The climate and nature crisis impacts us all, so it’s only right that we should all get a say in how we tackle it,” said Isabella O’Dowd, head of climate change at WWF.

“The government needs an urgent and credible strategy to show how the UK can reach its net-zero emissions targets, and this groundswell of public voices and choices on the finer detail of cutting emissions can help make this a reality.”

Net-zero climate calculator
climate calculator
The tool shows how ambitious climate plans could cut greenhouse gas emissions faster than current policies. Image: Climate Calculator

The calculator also lets users make decisions about planet-friendly farming plus plane travel and who should be charged extra for it.

“We are absolute in our view that it must be a just transition that everyone benefits and no-one is left behind,” said Duncan Burt, COP26 director at National Grid.

“So we hope the climate calculator will help raise awareness and increase understanding of the impact of different climate policies and solutions.”

Try the climate calculator now.