Low Carbon City
[Prof. Dr. Ortwin Renn's Visit to RSPRC]
Prof. Dr. Ortwin Renn, Scientific Director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam, Germany, participated the First International KLASICA Case Study Symposium at NTU. Prof. Dr. Kuei-Tien Chou, the director of RSPRC, with his colleagues, accompanied with Pro. Dr. Renn to visit the RSPRC office after the forum on 21th of November, 2016.
[Ms. Bärbel Höhn's Visit to RSPRC]
Ms. Bärbel Höhn, Chairperson of German Federal Diet, visited RSPRC on June 29th 2016. Ms. Bärbel Höhn later participated the "German Experience in Energy-Transition and Nuclear Waste Disposal Discussion Forum", in which she shared views on the issues related to climate change policy, energy transition and nuclear waste management.
[ National Science Foundation Partnerships for International Research and Education(PIRE)'s Visit to RSPRC]
Prof. Everette Joseph and Prof. Terri Adams and other fellows of PIRE visited RSPRC on 22th March, 2017. They participated a forum held by RSPRC and Graduate Institute of National Development, NTU, that focus on climate change and disaster prevention.
【2017 The Workshop on Social Impact Assessment】
The Workshop was hosted by RSPRC on January 11, 2017. Dr. David Ip, Professor Emeritus from Hong Kong Polytechnic University and University of Queensland, was invited to give a talk introducing some key issues and sharing his thoughts on the international theory and framework of social impact assessment.
[Prof. Moura Quayle's Visit to RSPRC]
Prof. Moura Quayle (Strategic Design with the Sauder School of Business and Director of the Liu Institute for Global Issues at University of British Columbia) participated the 2nd Challengers’ Meetup on October 27, 2016 at NTU. She then had a meeting with some of our RSPRC fellows discussing issues of the current difficulties of energy transition in Canada and Taiwan.
[Prof. Dr. Timo Busch's Visit to RSPRC]
Prof. Dr. Susanne Rupp, the Vice President of Universität Hamburg, led a group of faculty members participating “2016 NTU-UHH Matchmaking Workshop”at NTU. Prof. Dr. Kuei-Tien Chou, the director of RSPRC, accompanied with Prof. Dr. Timo Buschto visit the RSPRC office after the forum on 12th of December, 2016.
[2016 International Conference of Social Welfare Politics in Chinese Societies]
The conference was held by RSPRC on 15th of Nov, 2016. The main theme of this year's conference was "New Risk and New Social Policy: Horizon among Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong."
[Academic Exchange Activity] Prof. Dr. Fumiko Kasuga and Prof. Dr. Bach Tan Sinh Visiting to RSPRC
Prof. Dr. Fumiko Kasuga (Section Chief, National Institute of Health Sciences, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan) and Prof. Dr. Bach Tan Sinh (Acting Director of the Research Centre of S&T Policy, National Institute for Science and Technology Policy and Strategic Studies, Vietnam) visited RSPRC on 24th of November, 2016.
[2016 The Workshop on Energy Transition in East-Asia]
The workshop was hosted by RSPRC and Graduate Institute of National Development, NTU, on 10th and 11th of August,2016. Main topics of this workshop include the structural change in energy systems, the energy shift trends after Fukushima disaster, the decentralising renewable energy and the condition of energy policy.

Sociology of Climate Change: A Review of High Carbon Society and Its Transformation Challenges

Sociology of Climate Change: A Review of High Carbon Society and Its Transformation Challenges

National Taiwan University National Development Research Institute graduate student, center research assistant, Wang Yi-Yang

 

  Over the past two decades, extreme climate brought great disaster around the world, Taiwan is no exception. Since 1996, Typhoon Herb led to collapse of Lincoln Community, successive in 2000 as Xangsane typhoon, 2001 Nari storm, Typhoon Toraji, 2001 North Taiwan water shortage, 2004 Typhoon Mindulle caused collapse of central cross-island highway, in 2009, Typhoon Morakot caused ruin of Siaolin village and 698 people died or missing, 2010 Typhoon Megi led to two mainland China tour buses fall into valley of Suhua highway, these are difficult to recover.

  And we are facing, no longer only mudslides, earthquakes and other typical disasters. Climate variability also directly and indirectly affects the order of natural growth circles, biodiversity, or rapid transmission and spread of disease due to high temperatures. We cannot use a single, predictable trajectory to assess the possible impact of climate change. These violent climate disasters and risks, problem essence is not only across a single climate science field, but also relates to a variety of geological, coastal, agricultural and public health areas, and its impact across more fields of natural sciences and social sciences, especially these climate variability causes serious loss and threat to people's lives and property, and its scale and borders have long transcends real problem of industrial society and forms an unprecedented environmental, economic and social risk challenges.

  Since then, differed from the past in domestic social changes in traditional sociological theory, author of the book, Professor Chou Guitian started from cross-border, fields, social classes, ethics, generations, ethnic groups and other analysis of vision, looked at Taiwan in the era of global climate change, how to have enough "toughness" to resist unknown, irreversible risk shocks.

  Professor Chou believes that in order to cope with the prevention of climate change caused by environment, economy and society and other disastrous collapse, we must abandon current development of the brown economy for main high-carbon model, and then towards low energy-intensive, low-carbon emissions, low pollution, resource recycling green sustainable social development. In order to achieve such a vision, we should face four transformation efforts: 1. the level of industrial economy; 2. national policy structure and discussion level; 3. social awakening and action level; 4. governance transformation and innovation level. In brief, low-carbon transformation requires not only industry and national policy to drive, but also needs for social awakening and awareness to the future generations of responsibility, and to monitor government's environmental governance, and then bottom to top model and decision-maker dialogue and communication, to fight against the threat of severe climate change.

  But unfortunately, Taiwan society lacks of effective communication room with decision makers for many years. In the process of industrialization in Taiwan in the past, our decision-makers adopted narrow science and technology model, domestic development as all rely on experts and technical bureaucrats to make decisions. However, time passed when we are in the era of globalization risk that cross-border and transnational risks are taking place frequently, government should not deal with uncertain future in the past, subject to the empiricalist model of expert governance. Therefore, Professor Chou wanted to tell us that in the face of more and more intense climate change, food risk storm, energy pollution industry structural adjustment and other social shocks, we need a public, citizen groups, media or other stakeholders can participate in and supervise the social structure of decision-making under the conditions of risk knowledge and information equivalence. Otherwise, we will continue to be in a harsh risk of institutional hiding hysteresis-based high-tech risk society.

Professor Chou wrote the special book "Climate Change Sociology: High Carbon Society and Its Transition Challenges", trying to diagnose and propose solutions to how we should move towards low-carbon society and respond to its challenges in such a hysteresis-based society prescription. This book is divided into three parts and 10 chapters, the first part explores the structural path dependence of Taiwan's high-carbon society. The second part discusses risk perception and conflict between crisis, the fifth chapter will base on a cross-year national public climate change perception survey results, analyzes whether the people of Taiwan awaken to generation justice of climate risk, low-carbon economy and environment issues. The third part focuses on the analysis of citizen epistemology and social robustness under social transformation, which includes how community constructs systematic risk knowledge to challenge government’s descriptions, and how to organize systematic social mobilization to hidden risk control decisions.

  As the title of the book, if we want to strengthen current resistance to extreme climate change required toughness, is bound to leave rely on brown economic development model of high-carbon society. But transition is really not as simple as we think. From the first part of the book - the structural path dependence can be recognized that Taiwan's industry lazy transformation, since 1990, low value-added, high energy-intensive petrochemical industry expansion did not rest. Indeed, since the signing of Kyoto Protocol in 1997, Taiwan government has worked hard at different levels of national level planning to reduce carbon, adjust industrial structure policies, and encourage low energy consumption and low pollution industry development. However, until 2011, government approved industrial investment plan is still continue to encourage energy-consuming industries, resulting in more than 20 years of industrial transformation policy direction mostly in slogan.

  And, along with the continued expansion of petrochemical industry, not only produced terrible carbon emission quantity, but also brought again and again social struggle and conflict. Repeated national mobilization and strong confrontation that also means that community is not always sleeping, from the second part of the book can learn today's Taiwan society, has a considerable degree of risk awareness. Through the survey of national climate change perception designed and implemented by Prof. Chou and related teams, it is known that climate change and its linked poverty, food and water resources are highly valued by people. However, although community began to aware climate risk, low-carbon economy and other issues, but not too much room to participate decision-making. For a long time, Government's serious lack of governance, such as transparency, two-way risk communication and civic participation, has also been fully presented in the results of this perceptual investigation.

  Even in a hysteresis-based risk society, lacks space to collaborate with government to establish decision-making or risk communication, can we only let high-emission, high-energy-consuming industries continue to expand, or watch government move towards a low-carbon transition. Will this vision become a slogan again?

  In fact, not too pessimistic, Professor Chou in book's third part points out that once community opens a strong citizen knowledge system, the composition of expert political iron cage in the past; its legitimacy will be increasingly questioned. In the case of anti-Guoguang petrochemicals, for example, community no longer just like the traditional social struggle in early days, but through expert groups of university professors, professional groups with medical knowledge, and other social professionals at different levels together constitute strong, systematic risk discussion Union, to fight against the firm, authoritarian industry officials discuss the union. Eventually, successfully reversed government decision-making, Guoguang Petrochemical case finally ended.

  Despite considerable cost, anti-Guoguang case tells us that community is no longer just passive recipient in the face of traditions, government decision-making mechanisms that rely on expert paths, and strong industrial expansion. Through co-mobilization of social movers at different levels, the establishment of strong civic knowledge system, we still have opportunity to play influence, together with government to build blueprint for low-carbon transformation, as well as against risks and shocks brought by extreme weather.

  Generally speaking, "Sociology of climate change: high-carbon society and its transition challenges" will be in new cross-border risk thinking, let us recognize the need for low-carbon society in Taiwan, as well as the structural path dependence of transition obstacles. In addition to further understanding of Taiwan's long-standing high-carbon, high energy consumption, high water consumption industry, brown economic development model, this book better understands social public initiative risk discussion, and the common participation and supervision of government decision-making importance. That’s right, in order to combat extreme climate variability and move towards a low-carbon society, we need mix of policies, good industrial structure transformation, and awareness of our future generations of responsibility towards a new model of society.

 

Center Statement

What's New

2017 Working Paper
Towards the Road to Energy Transformation
Sociology of Climate Change: A Review of High Carbon Society and Its Transformation Challenges

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