Social Science in Climate Policy and Energy

Social Science in Climate Policy and Energy. Social sciences revolve around the scientific study of social relationships and human society. The discipline focuses on understanding the different factors defining social relationships and interactions in society. Under social sciences, there are sub-disciplines such as economics, political sciences, social psychology, and cultural anthropology. Social sciences and the resulting research aid in understanding how individuals relate to the systems around them. Climate policy and energies needs this discipline because social sciences help inform how human interactions impact the environment around them as well as energy use and hence define the right climate policy.  

Social Science in Climate Policy and Energy

            With expertise being needed in understanding how human behavior influences technology uptake and energy demand, social sciences is the discipline that bridges this gap. Such is the conceptualization given by Sovacool (2014) who extends the projection that a low, safe, and secure carbon future rests on altering human behavior and technologies. In his article, the author shows how social sciences has been relegated in the study of energy consumption which leads to miscasting of decision making and ignoring people. The author offers some recommendations on how to bring in social science in energy studies where focus should be on reducing bias.    

Within the climate policy area, social science is seen as vital in understanding how human beings and society respond to changes in the environment. Victor (2015) in his article on the inclusion of social sciences in climate policy emphasizes that its inclusion leads to effective policies that help cut emissions. The author cross-cuts the role that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has on climate policy and notes that the panel is becoming irrelevant to climate policy. In line with this, the author emphasizes the need to reform the IPCC to help develop effective policy that incorporates social sciences.

            The two articles summarized above offer the perspective that social sciences are being relegated with regards to the studies on energy and climate policy. The disregard of social sciences is despite the fact that the discipline aids in understanding how human relationships interact with the environment and how this also affects energy intake. With the world facing an increasing energy demand and changing climatic conditions resulting from human activity, it is vital to understand all the dynamics leading up to the problem. Such helps in the definition of the right and effective policy solutions that will help alleviate and mitigate climate change while limiting the effects of significant energy demand by society. Some of the recommendations that Sovacool (2014) offers include an overhaul of the approach to funding energy research, reducing disciplinary bias, and make energy research more problem oriented. On his part, Victor (2015) calls for an overhaul of IPCC that has focused on the economic side of social sciences. The two authors are critical about the incorporation of social sciences in the studies on energy and climate policy since this helps extend a better perspective on the factors influencing the changes in the environment. The outcome will be an inclusion of people needs in energy research.

            As the energy demand continues to increase and as the world faces the biting effects of climate change, the development of effective policy solutions is important. In line with this, social sciences offer a perspective in understanding the changes and demands taking place while also helping carve out effective solutions. As such, social sciences are a vital component of defining effective solutions to climate policy and energy demand.

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