Sociological Perspectives on Global Climate Change

Sociological Perspectives on Global Climate Change

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


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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