Research into climate mitigation is ‘significantly’ underfunded, research suggests

Research into climate change is significantly underfunded, according to researchers at the Univerity of Sussex. 

Academics at the University of Sussex and the Norwegian Institute of International affairs analysed research grants from across the world between 1950 – 2021 that had a cumulative value of $1.3trillion.

The researchers found that between 1990 and 2018, the natural and technical sciences received 770% more funding than the social sciences for research on climate change.

Only 0.12% of all of the research funding was spent on the social science of climate mitigation.

The authors of the report say that funding for climate research assumes that if natural scientists work out the causes, impacts and remedies, then politicians, officials and citizens will change their behaviour.

However, many years of evidence has shown that this is not the case.

The researchers, therefore, recommended that more funding needs to be made available for social science research on climate mitigation.

Global annual damage from climate change has already reached $10-40bn from storm increase alone. Therefore, the researchers conclude that funding for research on climate mitigation should match the magnitude of the threat.

Benjamin Sovacol, professor of energy policy at the University of Sussex, said: ‘Most people probably think that because climate change is so severe, responsive research would be a core priority.

‘But the opposite is true. And, oddly, the smallest part of the funding goes into solving the most pressing issues.’

Indra Overland, who heads the centre for energy research at the Norwegian Institute said: ‘The one-sided emphasis on the natural sciences leaves one wondering whether funding for climate research is managed by climate sceptics.

‘It’s as if they don’t quite believe in climate change, so they keep looking into how it really works, rather than trying to work out how to actually stop it.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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Pippa Neill

Pippa Neill

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