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Title: Interdisciplinary research in climate and energy sciences

Due to the complex nature of climate change, interdisciplinary research approaches involving knowledge and skills from a broad range of disciplines have been adopted for studying changes in the climate system as well as strategies for mitigating climate change (i.e., greenhouse gas emissions reductions) and adapting to its impacts on society and natural systems. Harnessing of renewable energy sources to replace fossil fuels is widely regarded as a long-term mitigation strategy that requires the synthesis of knowledge from engineering, technology, and natural and social sciences. In this study, we examine how the adoption of interdisciplinary approaches has evolved over time and in different geographic regions. We conducted a comprehensive literature survey using an evaluation matrix of keywords, in combination with a word cloud analysis, to evaluate the spatiotemporal dynamics of scholarly discourse about interdisciplinary approaches to climate change and renewable energy research and development (R&D). Publications that discuss interdisciplinary approaches to climate change and renewable energy have substantially increased over the last 60 years; it appears, however, that the nature, timing, and focus of these publications vary across countries and through time. Over the most recent three decades, the country-level contribution to interdisciplinary research for climate change has become moremore » evenly distributed, but this was not true for renewable energy research, which remained dominated by the United Sates and a few other major economies. The research topics have also evolved: Water resource management was emphasized from 1990s to 2000s, policy and adaptation were emphasized from the 2000s to 2010 – 2013, while vulnerability became prominent during the most recent years (2010 – 2013). Lastly, our analysis indicates that the rate of growth of interdisciplinary research for renewable energy lags behind that for climate change, possibly because knowledge emanating from climate change science has motivated the subsequent upswing in renewable energy R&D.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX (United States)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews. Energy and Environment
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 5; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-8396
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier: