The Social and Behavioural Aspects of Climate Change: Linking Vulnerability, Adaptation and Mitigation
Over the past few years, and certainly since the publication of the "Stern Report", there has been increasing recognition that climate change is not only an environmental crisis, but one with important social and economic dimensions. There is now a growing need for multi-disciplinary research and for the science of climate change to be usefully translated for policy-makers.Until very recently, scientific and policy emphasis on climate change has focused almost exclusively on mitigation efforts: mechanisms and regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The success of such efforts to date is debatable. In fact, the impact of ever more stringent emission control programmes could potentially have enormous social consequences. Little effort has been expended on the exploration of a systematic evaluation of climate stabilization benefits or the costs of adapting to a changed climate, let alone attempting to integrate different approaches. There is an increasing recognition that the key actors in the climate crisis also need to be preparing for change that is unavoidable. This has resulted in a greater consideration of vulnerability and adaptation.The book, based on the research programme "Vulnerability, Adaptation and Mitigation" (VAM) which ran from 2004 to 2010, funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), presents a cluster of case studies of industries, communities and institutions which each show how vulnerability, adaptation and mitigation analyses can be integrated using social behavioural sciences. Each chapter makes specific recommendations for the studied industry sector, community or institution, analyses the latest research developments of the field and identifies priorities for future research.
The book argues that the inherent complexity of climate change will ultimately require a much more integrated response both scientifically to better understand multiple causes and impacts as well as at the scientific/policy interface, where new forms of engagement between scientists, policy-makers and wider stakeholder groups can make a valuable contribution to more informed climate policy and practice.The book is particularly timely as the scientific research and policy debate is shifting from one of problem-framing to new agendas that are much more concerned with implementation, the improvement of assessment methodologies from a multi-disciplinary perspective, and the reframing of current scientific understanding towards mitigation, adaptation and vulnerability. A critical element in responding to the climate change challenge will be to ensure the translation of these new scientific insights into innovative policy and practice "on the ground". This book provides some fundamental elements to answer this need.The Social and Behavioural Aspects of Climate Change: Linking Vulnerability, Adaptation and Mitigation will be essential reading for social science researchers and policy managers in the area of climate change, as well as for those who want to know what the social and behavioural sciences can contribute toward coping with climate hazards. NGOs, law firms and businesses in the energy sector or other climate related fields will also find the book of great value.