The Network for Transdisciplinary Research, established by the Swiss Academic Society for Environmental Research and Ecology (sagufnet), ProClim and the Swiss National IHDP Committee organised a workshop on «Research for an Effective Climate Policy» held on 5 April 2002 in Bern.
The following four approaches from a wide range of social science research theories were presented during the morning session. The application of the institutional dimensions approach for a sustainable resource use in forestry; the method of social marketing for the regulation of local traffic; the combination of natural and social sciences in integrated assessment modelling; and a critical approach to classical economics.
Participants had the opporrtunities to define research issues within the three fields forestry, energy and traffic in relation to the different methodological approaches during the afternoon session. The final summary discussion indicated some parallels in all three fields concerning missing structures within the actual research questions. One of the crucial problems to be tackled is the gap in social scientific knowledge. Since most of the research in the traffic sector focuses on technology, there is a lack of data on the driving forces for human mobility, which needs to be researched further. The participants regarded the diffusion and acceptance of new technologies as a relevant topic for further research in all three fields. An additional problem is the lack in structure for transdisciplinary research. Transdisciplinarity has already become a common petition; however, Swiss academic institutions are not responding enough to this demand by changing their curricula and rigid disciplinary structures.
Research for an Effective Climate Policy - Joint sagufnet / ProClim- / IHDP Forum
The scientific results of climate research pose a great challenge to climate policy. In order to implement a more successful climate policy in-depth information is required on how politics, the private sector and the public at large might respond more effectively to this challenge. Further scientific research is required concerning the levels at which various strategies for more climate-effective action in the private sector and society at large might be implemented, allowing for possible resistance and obstacles. In contrast to other countries, Switzerland is not yet conducting a sufficient amount of socio-economic research on essential requirements for an effective, sustainable climate policy that would reflect the gravity of climate-related problems.
The organisers are planning to establish a research agenda for socio-economic issues for an effective climate policy based on the results of this meeting.