Major Shifts in Societal Trends and Their Impact on Climate Change

Maatschappelijke trendbreuken en klimaatverandering


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The Dutch National Research Program (NRP) on global air pollution and climate change commissioned a study on major shifts in societal trends that are relevant for the climate problem. The main objective of this study was to give direction to future research on this topic for the National Research Program. Several methods were used to achieve this goal: literature study, interviews with experts, researchers, policymakers and involved parties and a concluding workshop on the subject. The conclusion of the study was that four main trends in our society have a relationship, either positive or negative, with the climate problem: individualisation, ageing of the population, globalisation and the rapid development of information and communication technologies. Options to change or break trends can be found in technological innovations, changes in institutions and changes in human behaviour. Several recommendations were made for future research in the framework of the Dutch NRP. This research should focus on trends as such, on behaviour and on policy strategies for coping with trends and shifts in trends. The following research topics were recommended to the Steering Group for further study: - a general study on trends, trendbreaks and climate change, - development of information and communication technologies as a driver of trendbreaks, - interaction between technology and behaviour, - time spending, trendbreaks and the climate problem, - globalization, - new policy methods and strategies aiming at trendbreaks.

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