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October 17, 2007

Sociologists and Social Scientists Are Set to Make
Waves on Climate Change Research

WASHINGTON, DC—In a September 13, 2007, report* on climate change, the National Academies of Science stated, “Research into the social sciences, including human drivers of climate change such as energy consumption, the impact on human systems such as political institutions and economies, and mitigation and adaptation options, is much less developed than research on the natural climate system.”

In addition, a House subcommittee on science and technology held a hearing
on September 25, 2007, on how social and behavioral research can influence decisions affecting energy conservation.

While the NAS' and the Subcommittee on Research and Education's formal recognition of the importance of social sciences in global climate change is good news, social scientists have been proactive in pursuing research on this issue.

From November 7-9, 2007, social scientists and sociologists will tackle the controversial challenges relating to climate change. Sociologist Loren Lutzenhiser, Portland State University, will co-chair and participate in the “Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change Conference” in Sacramento, CA. The first national conference of its kind, it will focus on understanding the behavior and decision-making of individuals and organizations.

This innovative conference will bring together a broad audience of policy makers, researchers, program managers, nonprofits, faculty, students, corporations, utilities, evaluators, and others to discuss the social and behavioral dimensions of energy use, energy conservation and energy efficiency with the goal of accelerating our transition to an energy-efficient and low-carbon economy.

Cutting edge social science topics such as “Insights into Effective Communications and Behavioral Change,” “Accelerating Technological Change: Example of Getting Consumers to Pay Attention to Fuel Economy,” and “Individual Behavior in a Social Context: The Impact of Norms, Networks and Movements” will be discussed.

For more information on the conference, log onto

*The report is titled "Evaluating Progress of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program: Methods and Preliminary Results."


About the American Sociological Association
The American Sociological Association (, founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.