Cardiff University in Wales has been selected as the main hub for a £5m ($6.5m) research facility called the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST).

It has been established to explore how to achieve rapid and far-reaching emissions cuts to combat climate change.

A collaboration between Cardiff, Manchester, York and East Anglia Universities as well as charity Climate Outreach, the centre will work closely with industry, local and national governments, and charities to tackle climate change and is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Centre director, Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh of 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 degrees Celsius relative to pre-industrial levels, will be missed without fundamental transformations across all parts of society.

“At the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations, we recognise that climate change is an emergency that requires action on a far greater scale than has been seen so far. We will address the fundamental question of how we can live differently and better, in ways that meet the need for these systemic, deep and rapid emission reductions.”

The centre will establish a programme of social science research that places the role of people at the heart of the transformations needed to bring about a low-carbon, sustainable society, and as such it will focus on four areas of everyday life that contribute substantially to climate change but which have so far proved to be resistant to change: consumption of goods and physical products; food and diet; travel; and heating/cooling in buildings.

First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, said: “Achieving a low-carbon future is only possible if we all play our part. It’s through collaborative working like this that we can achieve the rapid and far-reaching transformations we need to bring about a sustainable, low carbon society.”

Professor Jennifer Rubin, Executive Chair of the Economic and Social Research Council, said: “To tackle Climate Change, we need better understanding of the role of human behaviour and choices, including around consumption, travel, and how we manage our living and working environments. This centre will work to ensure people are central to the changes needed, and that the work of the centre clearly informs policy and practice.”