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The Misallocation of Climate Research Funding

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Document pages: 13 pages

Abstract: 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.

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