Putting people at the heart of efforts to tackle climate change

by Lorraine Whitmarsh

There have been stark warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the UK Committee on Climate Change that rapid, society-wide decarbonisation is needed, and that we need to work harder if we are to avoid devastating climate change.

We may have as little as a decade in which to significantly cut emissions, and doing this will require fresh thinking. So far, emission cuts have mostly been achieved by changing 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. Continue reading

Win or lose, watching a World Cup together can be a uniquely positive experience

by Fergus Neville

When the 2018 World Cup kicks off in Russia it promises to captivate not only the globe’s football fans, but social psychologists too (although these two categories are not mutually exclusive: our laboratory with a large projector screen will be suspiciously booked during match times).

One of the issues most commonly associated with international football crowds is that of ‘hooliganism’. This could be particularly true for the forthcoming tournament given the conflict between Russian and English fans during Euro 2016 in France, exposés of Russian ‘hooligans’ preparing for the World Cup and the deteriorating political relationship between the UK and Russia which has included the expulsion of the British diplomat responsible for football fans. Moreover, Russian police reportedly witnessed the unruly behaviour of a section of English fans in March’s friendly match in Amsterdam.

This last observation is important because perception of the ‘other’ in intergroup contexts shapes the ways that groups treat each other and can create self-fulfilling prophecies. Continue reading

Does the carrier bag charge make us more green?

Why does charging for carrier bags encourage environmentally-friendly behaviour, but other initiatives do not? This is the question being posed here by Lorraine Whitmarsh, Professor of Environmental Psychology in the School of Psychology, Cardiff University and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

You can also read this article in this month’s Society Now magazine, which is out later this week.

Lorraine Whitmarsh

Latest figures show that in less than a year, the English carrier bag charge has led to reductions in single-use carrier bags of around 80 per cent. This is similar to reductions achieved in other countries, including Wales (90 per cent), Scotland (80 per cent) and Northern Ireland (72 per cent), where similar charges have been implemented. Continue reading