National Academies Press: OpenBook

Facilitating Climate Change Responses: A Report of Two Workshops on Knowledge from the Social and Behavioral Sciences (2010)

Chapter: Part I: Public Understanding and Mitigation of Climate Change

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Suggested Citation:"Part I: Public Understanding and Mitigation of Climate Change." National Research Council. 2010. Facilitating Climate Change Responses: A Report of Two Workshops on Knowledge from the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12996.
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Suggested Citation:"Part I: Public Understanding and Mitigation of Climate Change." National Research Council. 2010. Facilitating Climate Change Responses: A Report of Two Workshops on Knowledge from the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12996.
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Part I Public Understanding and Mitigation of Climate Change The December 2009 workshop was devoted to four distinct topical sessions and might therefore be considered as a set of smaller workshops. The first was devoted to public understanding of climate change and the other three to policy-related topics concerning efforts to limit future cli- mate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions or implementing low- emission technologies. Roger Kasperson, the panel chair, introduced the December 2009 work- shop by saying that this set of workshops is atypical of a National Research Council event in two ways. First, it allows a core of social scientists to engage in detailed discussion of the social science issues. Second, instead of formulating research agendas, its focus is on a few areas in which research- ers are confident that the social sciences already know quite a bit that can contribute to policy discussions internationally, in the federal government, in the private sector, and at the state and local levels, both now and in the future. Chapters 1-4 report on the presentations and discussions at the December workshop: 1. public understanding of climate change, 2. opportunities for climate change mitigation by household action, 3. public acceptance of energy technologies, and 4. organizational change and the greening of business. 

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The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, understanding the need for policy makers at the national level to entrain the behavioral and social sciences in addressing the challenges of global climate change, called on the National Research Council to organize two workshops to showcase some of the decision-relevant contributions that these sciences have already made and can advance with future efforts. The workshops focused on two broad areas: (1) mitigation (behavioral elements of a strategy to reduce the net future human influence on climate) and (2) adaptation (behavioral and social determinants of societal capacity to minimize the damage from climate changes that are not avoided).

Facilitating Climate Change Responses documents the information presented in the workshop presentations and discussions. This material illustrates some of the ways the behavioral and social sciences can contribute to the new era of climate research.

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