1. ITV Report

University of East Anglia to help tackle climate change

The UEA is part of a new centre to tackle climate change. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The University of East Anglia (UEA) is to be part of a new research centre to help tackle climate change.

The collaboration involving four universities will be backed by £5 million of funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

The centre will explore how we as a society can live differently to achieve the rapid and far-reaching emissions cuts required to address climate change.

Prof Andy Jordan, from UEA, said: "So far, emission cuts have mostly been achieved by de-carbonising electricity supply.

"But if we're going to tackle demand, and particularly in high-impact but challenging areas like food, transport, heating, and material consumption, we can't do this by technological change alone.

"We can only do this by transforming the way we live our lives, challenging norms, and reconfiguring organisations and cities."

The research will focus on four areas of everyday life that contribute substantially to climate change:

  • 1) the consumption of goods and physical products
  • 2) food and diet
  • 3) travel
  • 4) heating/cooling in buildings
Effective recycling could help climate change. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Centre director Prof Lorraine Whitmarsh, from Cardiff University, said: "While there is now international momentum on action to tackle climate change, it is clear that critical targets, such as keeping global temperature rise to well within 2 °C relative to pre-industrial levels, will be missed without fundamental transformations across all parts of society."

Electric cars could help climate change. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Prof Jennifer Rubin, executive chair of the Economic and Social Research Council, said: "This is a really important Centre to be funding because of its strong focus on developing and testing effective approaches to communicating climate change and its effects.

"Despite the urgent need to tackle climate change, researchers know that people rarely talk about it on a day-to-day basis - this means opportunities for meaningful dialogue and practical responses relevant to people's everyday lives are missed.

"This Centre will work across all levels of society with multiple partners and ensure people are central to the changes needed which will mean greater fairness as well as identifying ways forward that can be realistically achieved."