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Climate change expertise recognised internationally

23 December 2010

Hands holding soil and plant

The internationally-renowned Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research has invited Cardiff University to become a core partner.

The Tyndall Centre, established in 2000, brings together scientists, economists, engineers and social scientists who are working to develop sustainable responses to climate change. The invitation to Cardiff reflects the expertise in climate change and sustainability within the School of Psychology’s Understanding Risk research group, the Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS) and elsewhere at the University. Most recently, the University also established the Sustainable Places University Research Institute.

The strategic alliance builds on and formalises existing collaborations between Cardiff University and Tyndall Centre researchers.

Dr Lorraine Whitmarsh of the School of Psychology, one of the Tyndall Cardiff partner co-ordinators, said: "The University’s central role in the Tyndall Centre will strengthen, extend, and enhance the international profile of its work on sustainable responses to climate change.

In particular, Tyndall Cardiff will focus on the psychological and social dimensions of mitigating and adapting to climate change risk. This will include understanding responses by businesses, policy-makers, consumers and citizens."

The Tyndall involvement also further highlights the unique, world-leading expertise on climate change that exists in Wales which was brought together at the end of 2009 under the banner of the Climate Change Consortium for Wales (C3W). This £4M initiative is financed by the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG), the Countryside Council for Wales and substantial investment from the four universities involved (Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff and Swansea).

  • Dr Lorraine Whitmarsh, has edited a new book on how the public can contribute to the climate change agenda.

Despite increasing public awareness of climate change, individual behaviour in terms of consumption and energy use levels remain largely unchanged. In the new book, Dr Whitmarsh of Cardiff University and colleagues address important questions about the role of individuals and communities.

Key questions include:

  • What are the different roles the public can play in tackling climate change?
  • How can we encourage sustainable lifestyles and communities?
  • What are the limits to public engagement with climate change?
  • How can we improve public communication about climate change?

The book is titled Engaging the Public with Climate Change: Behaviour Change and Communication and Published by Earthscan. It provides both practical and theoretical ideas about engaging the public with climate change, and developing more effective communication and behaviour change strategies.

Dr Whitmarsh, of Cardiff University’s School of Psychology, said: "There is an urgent need for effective engagement methods to break old habits and encourage sustainable lifestyles, community action, and social change. The chapters in the book examine what works and what doesn't, and provide practical pathways to greater public engagement with the climate change agenda."

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