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The Social Dimensions of Moving Away From Gas Cookers and Hobs- Challenges and Opportunities in Transition to Low Carbon Cooking


Heat is one of the UK’s largest energy-consuming and carbon-emitting sectors and potentially the most difficult to decarbonise. The UK’s Clean Growth Strategy identifies that heat decarbonisation in buildings and industry will likely involve shifting away from natural gas to alternative energy vectors like electricity and hydrogen. This will mean transition of existing cooking appliances away from natural gas, resulting in social implications that require detailed analysis for optimal transition.
This report investigates the social dimensions of heat decarbonisation in cooking appliances, specifically moving away from gas cookers and hobs. It presents a first step in tackling the following questions.

  • How are current carbon-intensive cooking technologies part of existing cooking practices and broader social and material structures?
  • What are the challenges and opportunities for cooking heat decarbonisation, in terms of consumer acceptance, carbon and energy reductions and business/market opportunities?
  • What interventions are needed to realise policy objectives of heat de-carbonisation?
  • The report builds on interviews with BEIS’s long-term heat strategy experts and key external stakeholders, together with a review of secondary data on trends in cooking and appliance use in the UK. Further, it presents an annotated bibliography of literature on the social implications of heat decarbonisation and sustainable food transitions more broadly. The multidisciplinary review of the literature is structured around Southerton et al.’s (2011) ISM (Individual-, Social- and Material-context) framework for a systemic review of the various change-agents required for transition. Finally, a comparative review of the social challenges and opportunities identified in the ISM contexts is presented along with the potential policy interventions in each. The report concludes with a list of recommendations in terms of evidence and data gathering; research; policy; and a set of general recommendations for heat decarbonisation policy.

Funding source: UKERC; EPSRC; Whole Systems Networking Fund
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: United Kingdom

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