Lord Drayson: market science to make it ‘cool and exciting’

The UK Government’s Science Minister, Lord Paul Drayson, opened the 2009 Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday with a call to better market climate change science, making it ‘cool and exciting’, rather than ‘dull and worthy’. He criticised green campaigners and politicians for making people feel guilty about their lifestyle choices, stating his belief that it is “not going to be possible to persuade people to accept a poorer quality of life.”

Instead, he said that Government and environmentalists must communicate the message that the public can make a difference in ways that involve small changes, come with little cost and which might save money: better insultation, recycling and selecting energy efficient appliances, for example.

Alongside this, he called for the development of “new technologies that deliver performance with sustainability and put them within reach of people”. Climate change science should be exploited as a way of developing and of selling products, allowing people to support innovation for the convenience it offers as much as the scientific and technical advance it represents.

By understanding consumer behaviour, the public can be offered “opportunities and incentives” to change for themselves, rather than having behavioural change thrust upon them through means which engender feelings of guilt and helplessness rather than achieving the desired objectives.

See an extract from Lord Drayson’s speech on the websites of the Independent and the Times.

The Cheltenham Festival is taking place until Sunday 7 June. Find out more about events at the Festival.