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Sociological Perspectives on Global Climate Change

158 Pages · 2009 · 5.17 MB · English

  • Sociological Perspectives on Global Climate Change

    Workshop on


    Sociological Perspectives on


    Global Climate Change


    May 30-31, 2008


    JJooaannee NNaaggeell


    Thomas Dietz


    Jeffrey Broadbent


    National Science Foundation 2009 Photograph Credits:


    Cover photo courtesy of iStockphoto.com


    p. 5, Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets, University of Kansas


    All other photos courtesy of iStockphoto.com and creative commons of Flickr.com



    Sociology Program


    Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences


    National Science Foundation


    2009


    This report is a summary of the proceedings of the “Sociological Perspectives on Global Climate Change”


    workshop held at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Virginia, May 30-31, 2008. Any opinions,


    conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily


    reflect the views of the United States Government.


    Workshop on


    Sociological Perspectives on Global


    Climate Change



    May 30 - 31, 2008


    Report prepared by:


    Joane Nagel


    University of Kansas


    Thomas Dietz


    Michigan State University


    Jeffrey Broadbent


    University of Minnesota


    Sociology Program


    Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences


    National Science Foundation


    2009 2 Acknowledgments


    Acknowledgments


    We wish to thank Dr. Patricia White, NSF Sociology Program Director for her help in planning this workshop


    and preparing this report; Dr. Tom Baerwald, NSF Geography and Regional Sciences Program Director, for


    presenting a broad overview of climate change research programs in the Foundation; Karen Duke, NSF Social and


    Political Sciences Cluster Program Specialist for her administrative and technical support; Monique Laney and


    Lindsey Feitz, University of Kansas graduate assistants to Joane Nagel, for their help in organizing the workshop,


    designing and maintaining the workshop website, and writing the workshop report; Natalie Parker, Assistant


    Director, University of Kansas Center for Research on Global Change, Institute for Policy & Social Research, for


    her help in preparing the final report; the 28 workshop participants who submitted the informed and imaginative


    papers contained in Appendix 3; and all workshop participants who contributed constructive and creative


    comments and useful recommendations during and after the workshop, especially those who responded to a draft


    of the workshop report.


    Workshop Participants


    Tom Baerwald, National Science Foundation Marta Maldonado, Iowa State University


    Nancy Beller-Simms, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Sabrina McCormick, Michigan State University


    Administration Aaron McCright, Michigan State University


    Michele Betsill, Colorado State University Linda Mearns, National Center for Atmospheric


    Steven Brechin, Syracuse University


    Research


    Jeffrey Broadbent, University of Minnesota Joane Nagel, University of Kansas


    Robert Bullard, Clark Atlanta University Kari Norgaard, Whitman College


    Penelope Canan, University of Central Florida Simone Pulver, Brown University


    JoAnn Carmin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Timmons Roberts, College of William and Mary


    Thomas Dietz, Michigan State University Eugene Rosa, Washington State University


    Riley Dunlap, Oklahoma State University Joel Scheraga, Environmental Protection Agency


    Barbara Entwisle, University of North Carolina Rachel Slocum, St. Cloud State University


    Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Alps-Adria University Paul Stern, National Research Council


    Dana R. Fisher, Columbia University Kathleen Tierney, University of Colorado


    Ken Frank, Michigan State University Beverly Wright, Dillard University


    Eric Hanley, University of Kansas Richard York, University of Oregon


    Sharon Harlan, Arizona State University Sammy Zahran, Colorado State University


    Patricia Romero Lankao, National Center for


    Atmospheric Research


    Student Associates


    Anna-Lisa Aunio, McGill University Umar Moulta-Ali, Ohio State University


    Xiaodong Chen, Michigan State University Vikrum Sequeira, University of Texas at Austin


    Lindsey Feitz, University of Kansas Rachel Shwom, Michigan State University


    Monique Laney, University of Kansas John Tribbia, University of Colorado at Boulder


    Philip Mancus, University of Oregon


    3 Executive Summary


    Executive Summary


    olial,


    On May 30-31, 2008, a workshop on Sociological Perspectives on Global Climate Change was held at NSF in


    Arlington, Virginia. The workshop was funded by an NSF grant from the Sociology Program to Drs. Joane Nagel,


    University of Kansas; Jeffrey Broadbent, University of Minnesota; and Thomas Dietz, Michigan State University.


    The purpose of the workshop was threefold: identify ways to 1) increase sociology’s capacity to conduct climate


    change research, 2) motivate research that contributes solutions to a global problem of historical importance,


    and 3) expand sociological participation in interdisciplinary research and education about global climate change.


    Workshop participants were asked to answer two questions in their short papers and workshop deliberations:


    What is the state of sociological research on global climate change? What are the major research questions


    that sociologists should be asking and seeking to answer about climate change? The workshop was intended


    to contribute to advancing sociological research on global climate change, and thus to advancing the research


    capacity, tools, and infrastructure in the social sciences.


    This report is organized into four sections; the first three parallel the organization of the Intergovernmental


    Panel on Climate Change 2007 Fourth Assessment Report’s Summary for Policymakers1 which identifies causes,


    impacts, and mitigation and adaptation strategies for climate change.


    Part I outlines the current state of sociological knowledge and opportunities for future research about the social


    causes of global climate change; several theoretical and empirical research areas in sociology are referenced


    both for the knowledge they have already generated and for their potential to contribute to further research on the


    causes of climate change: global political economy, human ecology and environmental impact models, cultural


    and meaning systems, macro-comparative policy research, social organization of science and science policy.


    Part II identifies the current state of sociological knowledge and opportunities for future research about social


    impacts of global climate change; relevant theoretical and empirical research areas in sociology are referenced


    both for the knowledge they have already generated and for their potential to contribute to further research on the


    causes of climate change: environmental justice, disaster research, human health, security and conflict, and social


    demography and population research.


    Part III summarizes the current state of sociological knowledge and opportunities for future research about the


    social dimensions of mitigation and adaptation to global climate change; several theoretical and empirical


    research areas in sociology are referenced both for the knowledge they have already generated and for their


    potential to contribute to further research on mitigation and adaptation efforts: global governance, risk assessment


    and decision making, cultures of consumption, contributions to advocacy and action research, and organizations


    and networks.


    Part IV contains recommendations to sociologists and to funding agencies, including NSF, for advancing


    sociological research on global climate change including recommendations for catalyzing the discipline of


    sociology, forging interdisciplinary collaborations, and developing the capacity and infrastructure to increase


    sociology’s contribution to understanding and responding to global climate change.


    1 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report, Summary for Policymakers (Cambridge


    University Press, 2007).


    4 Executive Summary


    Recommendations for catalyzing the discipline:


    • Build capacity by increasing the number of researchers in the sociological study of the environment.


    • Increase the presence of sociologists in climate change research and policy organizations.


    • Provide funding opportunities to develop and conduct research projects that investigate the human


    dimensions of climate change.


    • Develop an American Sociological Association committee and position statement on climate change.


    • Facilitate sociologists’ access to climate change research and policy networks.


    Recommendations for forging interdisciplinary collaborations:


    • Facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration and training.


    • Encourage sociologists to embrace multi-method frameworks.


    • Increase support of research networks and collaborations with natural scientists and engineers.


    • Increase training of sociologists in natural science approaches to global climate change.


    • Fund summer institutes that facilitate interdisciplinary working groups.


    Recommendations for capacity building and infrastructure development:


    • Include social scientists and social science data collection in large-scale ecological observation projects


    such as the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network.


    • Include data collection on climate change in currently supported data infrastructure projects such as the


    General Social Survey (GSS), Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), and the American National


    Election Studies (ANES).


    • Organize follow-up workshops to bring together environmental sociologists with sociologists


    specializing in models and tools to inform the study of climate change such as GIS specialists,


    demographers, network analysts, and consumer culture researchers.


    • Develop an interdisciplinary Social Environmental Observatory Network (SEON).


    • Create a training institute focused on the social dimensions of climate change.


    The report concludes with appendices that list workshop participants, present the workshop agenda, and include


    the papers submitted by workshop participants. A complete copy of this report along with recommended readings


    and other useful information for climate change students and researchers is available on the University of Kansas


    Center for Research on Global Change website: http://ireswb.cc.ku.edu/~crgc/NSFWorkshop.


    5 6 Table of Contents


    Table of Contents


    Acknowledgments 3



    Executive Summary 4



    Background 9


    Part I: Sociological Analyses of the Causes of Global Climate Change 13


    17


    Part II: Sociological Perspectives on the Impacts of Global Climate Change


    Part III: Sociological Approaches to Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation 21


    Part IV: Recommendations for Advancing Sociological Research on Global Climate Change 25


    25


    uf0a7 Recommendations for Catalyzing the Discipline


    27


    uf0a7 Recommendations for Forging Interdisciplinary Collaborations


    28


    uf0a7 Recommendations for Capacity Building and Infrastructure Development


    Appendices


    31


    Appendix 1: Workshop Participants


    33


    Appendix 2: Workshop Agenda


    35


    Appendix 3: Workshop Papers



    Michele Betsill, Colorado State University Marta Maldonado, Iowa State University


    Steven Brechin, Syracuse University Sabrina McCormick, Michigan State University


    Jeffrey Broadbent, University of Minnesota Aaron McCright, Michigan State University


    Robert Bullard, Clark Atlanta University Joane Nagel, University of Kansas


    Penelope Canan, University of Central Florida Kari Norgaard, Whitman College


    JoAnn Carmin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Simone Pulver, Brown University


    Thomas Dietz, Michigan State University Timmons Roberts, College of William and Mary


    Riley Dunlap, Oklahoma State University Eugene Rosa, Washington State University


    Barbara Entwisle, University of North Carolina Rachel Slocum, St. Cloud State University


    Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Alps-Adria University Paul Stern, National Research Council


    Dana R. Fisher, Columbia University Kathleen Tierney, University of Colorado


    Ken Frank, Michigan State University Beverly Wright, Dillard University


    Eric Hanley, University of Kansas Richard York, University of Oregon


    Sharon Harlan, Arizona State University Sammy Zahran, Colorado State University


    7 Table of Contents


    8


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