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Lecture 3

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SOC 300
Cheryl Teelucksingh

Lecture 3: Climate Change and Scientific Uncertainty The problems: a) ozone depletion - science determined holes in the atmosphere and point fingers as to why it was happening - ecological modernization (technology) came on board to solve problem - relationship between science and ecological model b) global warming - gases in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide created a blanket - if too much carbon dioxide it decreases the blankets ability to work and unable to protect the cooling form coming down - there is too much CO2 going into the atmosphere - things that can be done: plant trees (mature trees), less car use, increase in taxes on gas • The current evidence: Broiling hot summers, droughts, floods, rising sea levels, record hurricanes, melting glaciers, and decreased snow cover. • Causes of global warming: carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use = the greenhouse effect. However, modern life depends on carbon based fuels. Climate Change and Scientific Uncertainty Global Warming - IPCC international ______ climate change - Warmer summers = increase air conditioner = increase in energy use, oil and gas Climate Change and Scientific Uncertainty Scientific differences\ uncertainty: - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – authority on climate change, argue 1.1 – 6.4 degrees Celsius change in the 21 century – part of uncertainty because 1 degree is not much but 6 is a lot, therefore how should the government prepare, what cost expenses should be expected - uncertainty: about what to do about it and the costs; regarding ability of the scientists to predict; doubt about the magnitude of the problem and the timing Potential consequences in the future: - climate refugees; concerns about drinking water; increased disease; disruptions to agriculture - Peter Sinclair: - The Agenda: Environmental Sociology Perspectives and Climate Change (Nagel et al, 2008) a) Human Ecology • to model the social causes and consequences of environmental change • to document the pathways and obstacles to transition to a low carbon society with a focus on stability • Example of Human Ecology and Climate Change • Human ecology examines how cultures change in response to climate change: • Example: Women and climate change in Bangladesh: v=F7p65xqItMA o More salt in the soil, less biodiversity, less likely to be able to do a wide range of agriculture, small variety of food o Men fled to cities, women gain respect from agriculture, women left in villages to take care of family, no clean water o Need for adaptation- shrimp, rice, chicken b) Political Economy • to consider intersecting political and economic contexts as contributors and potential mitigators of global climate change • to link carbon emissions to economic and social organization of industrial societies • to examine the power dynamics in resource extraction regimes • to engage in a critique of ecological modernization -Example: Hurricane Katrina in 2005 in New Orleans Sociological Analyses of the Causes of Climate Change Framing Analysis: - to explore how the public defines climate change as a problem (through surveys to find what are the ambiguity) - to examine cultural processes that shape stakeholders’ discourse and ideologies on climate change - through the role of the media Policy Analysis: - to examine the factors that shape climate policy formation, implementation, and effectiveness - to study the interactions between states and non-governmental actors Social risk assessments: • Risk = the extension of rationalism i
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