The social science achievement of understanding and responding to climate change is rooted in human behaviour – the drivers of greenhouse gas emissions, the climate impacts on people and ecosystems and how we react to these, and the evaluation of political and economic solutions.
In climate change assessments the main social science discipline is economics. Others are under-represented. This may have to do with the obvious expertise of economists in delivering cost benefit analyses for all kind of policy proposals and a preference for models and numeric indicators, much like climate scientists.
As the climate continues to change, millions of poor people face greater challenges in terms of extreme events, health effects, food security, livelihood security, migration, water security, cultural identity, and other related risks.
The social sciences provide systematic approaches to understanding relationships that arise among individuals, organizations, or institutions.
Social science provides empirical data about what the problems are and encourages people to propose possible solutions, and you try them, and some of them work. The thinkers are not always right, but they come up with the ideas, some of which work.
Social Science Disciplines
- Economics & Management.
- Human Services.
- Political Science.
Social climate (psychological climate, social context) is typically defined as the perceptions of a social environment that tend to be shared by a group of people. Climate is rooted in perception (“how I see the way things are done or how people treat each other around here”).
Recent literature illustrates the economic and social challenges facing cities around the world as a result of climate change including energy shortages, damaged infrastructure, increasing losses to industry, heat-related mortality and illness, and scarcity of food and water. These challenges are interrelated.
There are estimates for the cost of three greenhouse gases: carbon, methane, and nitrous oxide. For carbon dioxide, the social cost of releasing a metric ton is $51. A metric ton of methane costs $1500, and releasing a metric ton of nitrous oxide costs $18,000, according to the SCC measure.