Tyndall Centre and partners lead new £5m climate research centre

A new collaboration between Cardiff, Manchester, East Anglia and York Universities, and charity Climate Outreach will lead the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST) to work closely with industry, local/national governments and charities to tackle climate change.

The £5m Centre is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and will be based primarily at The University of Cardiff, with activity being supported through the Tyndall Centre at The University of Manchester.

Professor Carly McLachlan, Director of Tyndall Manchester, said: "As part of the SCATTER project funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), we have calculated a carbon budget for Greater Manchester and this has led to the Mayor's adoption of the 2038 carbon neutrality goal. This work really makes clear the challenge that we face in terms of decarbonisation and the different areas where action is needed at a local authority and national level.

"We will be continuing to work with Greater Manchester through the new CAST centre, which takes the city-region level as one of the various levels at which action can and needs to happen. We will work with GMCA on development and delivery of specific areas of policy - the exact focus is yet to be decided but it will relate to our four key challenge areas: consumption of goods and physical products; food and diet; travel; and heating/cooling in buildings.

"This is part of the experimental focus on the centre - where we are studying active attempts to reshape behaviour, practices and emissions. We will also be working with Cardiff and other cities as the centre progresses."

Establishing a programme of social science research that places the role of people at the heart of the transformations needed to bring about a low-carbon, sustainable society, the Centre will focus on four challenging areas of everyday life that contribute substantially to climate change, but which have proven stubbornly resistant to change.

Working closely with members of the public to develop and model inspiring yet workable visions of a low-carbon future, the Centre also aims to develop responses to climate change that emphasise parallel benefits in other areas of life: for example, through promoting wellbeing and cleaner air by moving away from a reliance on cars.

The Centre will also examine the success of movements and transformations triggered within communities, such as food sharing schemes and off-grid energy provision, exploring how these have been diffused or upscaled.

As recent protests in France have shown, policies for tackling fossil fuels can run into vocal opposition if they are seen as unfair or not in line with people's needs. As such, it is essential to understand how to change society in new and compelling ways. Researchers will do this by working closely with members of the public, establishing a citizen's assembly and a young people's panel to ensure key public concerns are a central part of the Centre.

This is an important Centre to be funding, focused on the underlying social science needed to combat climate change and its effects. To tackle climate change, we need better understanding of the role of human behaviour and choices, including around consumption, travel and how we manage our living and working environments. This Centre will work to ensure people are central to the changes needed, and that the work of the Centre clearly informs policy and practice.
Professor Jennifer Rubin, Executive Chair of the ESRC

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