Academic article

The missallocation of climate research funding

Published: 11 Aug 2020
Summary:

The window of opportunity for mitigating climate change is narrow. Limiting global warming to 1.5 °C will require rapid and deep alteration of attitudes, norms, incentives, and politics. Some of the key climate-change and energy transition puzzles are therefore in the realm of the social sciences. However, these are precisely the fields that receive least funding for climate-related research. This article analyzes a new dataset of research grants from 333 donors around the world spanning 4.3 million awards with a cumulative value of USD 1.3 trillion from 1950 to 2021. Between 1990 and 2018, the natural and technical sciences received 770% more funding than the social sciences for research on issues related to climate change. Only 0.12% of all research funding was spent on the social science of climate mitigation.