Psychologist made MBE for work on public attitudes to climate change

Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh’s research includes shifting perceptions of meat consumption, energy use, waste reduction and low-carbon technologies.

Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh
Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh

An environmental psychologist has been made an MBE for her research into public perception of the climate crisis and shifting patterns of consumer behaviour.

Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh, from the University of Bath, was recognised in the New Year Honours list for her work in areas including meat consumption, energy use, waste reduction and low-carbon technologies.

Prof Whitmarsh is also the director of the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST) – a collaboration between academics at the universities of Cardiff, Manchester, York, East Anglia and Bath and charity Climate Outreach.

In 2021, she joined the Climate Crisis Advisory Group, which advises policymakers on strategies for the shift to a net zero future.

Prof Whitmarsh advises on how the Government can help the public switch to low-carbon behaviours, as well as on climate change communication.

In the past year, she was part of research that found low-carbon travel policies coupled with measures to better insulate our homes could save the NHS £17 billion over the next two decades.

Elsewhere, Prof Whitmarsh is the lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Working Group II Sixth Assessment Report into the impact of global warming, adaptation and vulnerability.

Prof Whitmarsh said: “I’m absolutely delighted to receive this honour in recognition of our work on climate change, public engagement and behaviour change.

“Following on from the year in which the UK hosted Cop26 and more countries made ambitious pledges to achieve net zero emissions, it is encouraging that the role of the social sciences in tackling rising temperatures is recognised and valued in this way.

“I would also like to thank many colleagues, past and present, from CAST and at the universities of Bath, Cardiff, East Anglia, York and the charity Climate Outreach who I have collaborated with over many years; in addition to the policymakers, charities, and businesses with whom CAST is currently working on research and action to tackle climate change.”

Prof Whitmarsh was also one of the experts involved in the Climate Assembly UK, the first ever national citizens assembly on climate change and net zero which was conducted in 2020.

President and vice-chancellor of the University of Bath, Professor Ian White, said: “This is a tremendous accolade for Professor Whitmarsh and important recognition of the significant contributions she has made in relation to the climate crisis, behaviour change and public engagement.

“My sincere congratulations to her on receiving an MBE in this year’s New Year’s Honours 2022.”

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