The role of social science and governance research in the EU’s climate transition
Video recording of the Keynote by Dr Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency 6 October, 2021
Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director of the EEA gave a critical and engaging talk on the role of social science and governance research in European climate policy. He highlighted the critical role of social science research in realising the climate transition and called for policy relevant, policy translatable research results. Discussant Jale Tosun Professor of Political Science at the Institute of Political Science, Heidelberg University, reflected on Hans’ points from the perspective of a governance researcher. Professor Sebastian Oberthür had his hands full moderating as the event took place both in real physical settings as well as online and there were a lot of questions and comments by the audience.
About the event
While the role and importance of science and expertise for the climate transition in general is well established, this seems to relate in particular to the natural sciences and, to some extent, to economics. Whereas natural sciences and related modelling are the primary point of reference for assessing the ambition of climate mitigation, economics and related modelling of costs and benefits are in particular listened to when it comes to assessing potential policy responses. In contrast, social science research in general and research on the governance of the climate transition in particular (exploring issues such as participation in the decision-making process and the effectiveness of the mix of applicable policy instruments, among others) seems much less prominent in related debates. What can and should be the role of such research in the public debate and in policy-making processes? Does research need to adapt? How could the link between relevant research and policy making be strengthened?
Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency
Jale Tosun, Professor of Political Science at the Institute of Political Science, Heidelberg University
Sebastian Oberthür, Director of the Centre for Environment, Economy and Energy, Brussels School of Governance – Vrije Universiteit Brussel & Professor of Environmental Policy and Law at the Centre for Climate Change, Energy and Environmental Law at the University of Eastern Finland
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