Vision and Core Principles

The CAST Centre will be a global hub for understanding the systemic and society-wide transformations that are required to address climate change. At its core, is a fundamental question of enormous social significance:

How can we as a society live differently – and better – in ways that meet the urgent need for rapid and far-reaching emission reductions?

While there is now strong international momentum on climate change mitigation, it is clear that critical targets will be missed without fundamental changes to the way we all live. Our core aim is to achieve a fundamental change in our understanding of how to transform lifestyles and systems of governance for a sustainable, low-carbon future.

CAST has five core organising principles:

1. Focusing on four challenging areas – material consumption, diet, mobility, and thermal comfort – which have substantial climate impacts, but which have so far proven difficult to change.

2. Attending to multiple scales in terms of the intersecting roles of individuals, of social structures and contexts, and of policy and political processes, recognising the uniquely different types of agency and capacity available at micro to macro levels.

3. Understanding different rates of change as these manifest in people’s lives and across society, and to draw on these to propose and trial opportunities for radical emission reductions.

4. Emphasising the importance of values and co-benefits in underpinning the actions and perspectives of people, shaping culture, and driving policy decisions. In doing so, we set out to align positive outcomes for climate change mitigation with those in other domains, such as health and wellbeing, and future resilience to environmental change.

5. Committed to developing effective two-way communication and engagement with stakeholders and the public, in the design, conduct and translation of research into meaningful impact.

Our Research Themes recognise that transformative change requires: inspiring yet practicable visions of the future (Theme 1), learning lessons from past and current societal shifts (Theme 2), trialling and testing different models of change (Theme 3), and synthesising insights and embedding change through continuing communication and engagement with stakeholders and publics (Theme 4).

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