[daydream believer] What do you really need to research to stop climate change!


Ten essentials for action-oriented and second order energy transitions, transformations and climate change research


I recently wrote a story called "research trends related to the SDGs". One of the interesting trends is that research on climate change is interdisciplinary and more widely cited. Here is a paper that exemplifies this. Forty-five collaborators and institutes write this paper. It is not about direct research into climate change, but about the need for secondary research into how to initiate efforts to alleviate climate change. Action research or transformative research is more than interdisciplinary work that brings together several disciplines, such as climate science and sociology. It looks at how the results of such interdisciplinary work can change society. The paper concludes that we need more emphasis on "changing society to solve the problem" and not solving climate change technologically. We need to focus on ten transformative initiatives to achieve this, such as:

  1. Focus on transformations to low-carbon, resilient living;

  2. Focus on solution processes;

  3. Focus on ‘how to’ practical knowledge;

  4. Approach research as occurring from within the system being intervened;

  5. Work with normative aspects;

  6. Seek to transcend current thinking;

  7. Take a multi-faceted approach to understand and shape change;

  8. Acknowledge the value of alternative roles of researchers;

  9. (9) Encourage second-order experimentation; and

  10. Be reflexive.


The last one, "Be reflexive" can be difficult, but it summaries the whole idea in two words. This idea is a research method used in ethnography. Ethnography does not separate the person who observes and the object observed, done in other social research. This is because doing ethnography research affects the observed object, and the researcher observes the affected object. In other words, there is no clear boundary between the observer and the observed. This "reflexive" should be considered in the study of climate change. Or, more specifically, that we should do research that takes reflexive into account. I will try to write more about this at another time.


I am also involved in European Commission projects on transforming our society to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. As mentioned in this paper, these European Union projects are open not only to universities and other research institutions, but also NGOs and companies. One of the more interesting recent trends is that civil society organisations, such as community associations, can also participate in European Commission projects. The reason for the new trend is because research that makes a difference needs to include universities and other research institutions and organisations that are more directly involved in the running of society.



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