I saw something a while ago that I been thinking about and thought I would write a short post in the hopes of clarifying my understanding (which is sorely lacking). The suggestion was that all those involved with climate change research should frame things from a Science and Technology Studies (STS) perspective. Even though I’ve written a number of posts about STS, I don’t fully understand what this is suggesting, or how it would somehow help.
My impression is that it’s about incorporating societal values into how climate change is framed. I think there are clearly aspects of this where our values play a very important role, but there are others where it’s not obvious that it would be a relevant part of how it should be framed. How our climate responds to us continuing to dump CO2 into the atmosphere doesn’t really depend on our values. How we might respond to our understanding of this, however, does. The technological challenges associated with addressing climate change don’t really depend on our values. Which options we might prefer, or what is politically feasible, almost certainly does depend on our values. So, there are certainly aspects where our societal values are important, but others where they seem less relevant.
Of course, maybe I completely misunderstand what people mean when they refer to an STS framing. However, if there would be some benefit to framing climate change from an STS perspective, it would seem important to better understand what this means, and why it would be good to do so. I’d certainly appreciate it if anyone were willing to explain/clarify what is meant when people refer to framing things from an STS perspective, and how there would be a benefit to doing so.