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Climate change: how can the public play its part?

14 December 2010

Following the international agreement on climate change at Cancun last week, a new book asks what the public can do to contribute.

Despite agreements like the Cancun summit, and increasing public awareness of climate change, individual behaviour has changed little. Consumption and energy use levels remain largely unchanged. In the new book, Dr Lorraine 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. 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."

ENDS



Notes to editors

Engaging the Public with Climate Change: Behaviour Change and Communication is published by Earthscan and edited by Dr Lorraine Whitmarsh, Saffron O'Neill and Irene Lorenzoni. For further information, see: http://www.earthscan.co.uk/?tabid=102449"

Dr. Lorraine Whitmarsh is a Lecturer in Environmental Psychology in the School of Psychology and Research Associate with the ESRC Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS) at Cardiff University, UK. She is also a Visiting Fellow with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. She is lead editor of the new volume ‘Engaging the Public with Climate Change: Behaviour Change & Communication’.

Cardiff University Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, University President Professor Sir Martin Evans.
Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Three major new Research Institutes, offering radical new approaches to neurosciences and mental health, cancer stem cells and sustainable places were announced by the University in 2010. www.cardiff.ac.uk

For further information please contact:
Dr Lorraine Whitmarsh
School of Psychology
Cardiff University
029 208 76972
e-mail: WhitmarshLE@cardiff.ac.uk

Stephen Rouse,
Public Relations Office,
Cardiff University.
029 2087 5596
e-mail: RouseS@cardiff.ac.uk