Ensuring fairness between generations when setting climate change policy

Ensuring fairness between generations when setting climate change policy

Accounting for unique aspects of climate change

One of the considerations that is necessary to achieve a just transition to net zero is ensuring that policies are ‘fair’ between current and future generations. In order to shed light on this, we worked with Sustainability First to develop a framework that would enable policymakers to better consider the intergenerational effects of decarbonisation and climate adaptation measures. Our report  addresses a need to modify standard approaches to appraising policies’ intergenerational effects so that they can better account for climate change’s unique aspects.

 Creating a framework

 We found that a framework capable of appraising environmental policies’ effectiveness from an intergenerational perspective should include:

  • A consideration of policies’ ethical questions (e.g. the degree of consideration for future generations) and economic inputs (e.g. their assumed discount rates); and
  • A characterisation of policies’ outputs (or results) and outcomes (or longer term effects as a result of outputs)

The elements of our framework are summarised in our annex.

The future of climate change policies

 Our final outputs, which highlight that intergenerational equity needs to be addressed when setting climate change policies, are set to be submitted to the Treasury, BEIS and Ofgem to help inform future policymaking. We also look forward to discussing our findings with Sustainability First and broader policymakers at a roundtable event on 10th September.

Frontier's final report can be found here. Sustainability First have also written an accompanying Viewpoint Piece, available here, which provides their own reflections that build on our report.


 Figure 1        Framework for assessing intergenerational equity