Our research programme

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. Read more about the four areas.

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. Read more about our focus on co-benefits.

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. One element of our public engagement is our youth panel – read more about it here.

Our research programme is structured around four themes.

Our Research Themes recognise that transformative change requires: inspiring yet practicable visions of the future, learning lessons from past and current societal shifts, trialling and testing different models of change, and embedding change through continuing communication and engagement. Read more about our four themes.

We put people at the heart of transformation

Underpinning our research is the recognition that people are at the heart of the society-wide changes that are needed to address climate change. Rapid transformations to a more sustainable society can only be achieved if these are undertaken with the support and involvement of the people that will be affected by them. Read more about people as agents of change.

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