Climate Science Needs Greater Social Science Input

Climate Science Needs Greater Social Science Input

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Climate researchers pay too little attention to social sciences, the executive director of the Bolivian Mountain Institute told delegates at the International Conference of Mountain Countries on Climate Change in Nepal.

“More interaction between the natural and social sciences is necessary,” said Dirk Hoffmann, adding that the lack of effective dialogue between science and social policy is hampering the implementation of adaptation measures. Hoffmann gave an example of agricultural engineers studying the effects of heat stress and reduced water supply on plant growth, who failed to incorporate the views of farmers’ perceptions of climate change and their collective or individual attempts to adapt. He also noted that “climate is almost absent [from discussions] in the social sciences”, and urged sociologists, psychologists, political scientists, and historians to participate in climate change science discussions, and provide information on how past and present societies have reacted to climate variations, and how political decision-making processes can motivate people to act.

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