Washington, DC— Changes to the climate system that are unparalleled over centuries are now occurring across the world, according to a recent report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. These changes range from the rise in global temperature by 2°F to more extreme weather events, from rising sea levels to rapidly disappearing sea ice, and from an increase in infectious diseases to farms that are less productive. The report further says that the world’s current plans to combat these changes are inadequate and countries, the private sector, and individuals must take more aggressive actions to avert catastrophic warming.

The American Sociological Association has compiled a list of experts who can provide background on the social issues that must be interrogated to understand climate change. These experts are available to answer media questions and provide perspective for news stories.

Debra Davidson is Professor, Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology, at the University of Alberta. Her areas of specialization include climate change impacts, mitigation and adaptation, environmental equity and justice, transitions in energy and food systems, and natural resource politics and governance. Currently, she is part of an interdisciplinary and collaborative research initiative focusing on how to address many of the most challenging issues facing impact assessment processes in Canada, including gender-based analysis, addressing Indigenous sovereignty, integrating multiple forms of knowledge, and emerging climate impacts. Davidson’s work has been featured in numerous professional journals and edited volumes.

Xiaorui Huang is an environmental sociologist and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Drexel University. Huang’s research agenda focuses on environmental sociology, climate change, global political economy, and quantitative methods. His main published work examines the environmental and human well-being implications of economic development, international trade, renewable energy, and income inequality. He has also published on quantitative methods and agricultural communities’ engagement with natural resource and climate change issues. Huang’s published work has appeared in several disciplinary and interdisciplinary journals. Some of his work has received widespread media coverage in outlets such as the National Geographic, Science Daily, and Phys.org.

Andrew Jorgenson is Professor and Chair in the Department of Sociology, Professor of Environmental Studies, and coordinates the Global Environmental Sociology Lab at Boston College. Working in the areas of environmental sociology, global political economy, the sociology of development, and sustainability science more broadly, he conducts research on the human dimensions of global and regional environmental change, with a focus on the societal causes of the climate crisis. He was appointed by the US Global Change Research Program to serve as an author for the Fifth National Climate Assessment, which is scheduled for completion in 2023, and he is also a newly appointed member of the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Jorgenson is coauthor of Super Polluters: Tackling the World’s Largest Sites of Climate-Disrupting Emissions (Columbia University Press, 2020). His work has appeared in various disciplinary and interdisciplinary journals.

Aaron M. McCright is Professor of Sociology and Chairperson in the Department of Sociology at Michigan State University. His sociological research investigates how interrelationships among scientific developments, political processes, and social dynamics influence society’s capacity for recognizing and dealing with environmental degradation and technological risks. McCright is most well-known for his work analyzing the political dynamics and public understanding of climate science and policy in the United States—especially organized climate change denial and political polarization on climate change. ​He has published over 70 articles in scholarly journals, two books, and several chapters in edited volumes.

Kasia Paprocki is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her work is focused on the politics of climate change adaptation and development, with a focus on South Asia and specifically Bangladesh, where she has worked and conducted research for over 15 years. Paprocki’s book, Threatening Dystopias: The Global Politics of Climate Change Adaptation in Bangladesh (Cornell University Press, 2021), investigates the politics of climate change adaptation which investigates the global politics of climate change adaptation based on over two years of research in Bangladesh with adaptation planners, and policy makers, scientists, environmental activists, farmers and migrant workers. She has also conducted and presented her research at UN climate conferences and her writings have been published in both academic and popular outlets. Her research has been supported by the United States National Science Foundation, the Fulbright Program, and the Social Science Research Council.

Rachael Shwom is full professor in the School of Environmental and Biological Science’s Department of Human Ecology and Acting Director of the Rutgers Energy Institute. She conducts research that links sociology, psychology, engineering, economics, and public policy to investigate how social and political factors influence society’s responses to energy and climate problems. Shwom is currently conducting National Science Foundation funded research on reducing greenhouse gas impacts in household consumption and how people make sense of and respond to climate change impacts such as extreme weather and electricity outages. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee to Advise the U.S. Global Change Research Program and a co-author for the National Climate Assessment’s Chapter 5 (Human and Social Systems).  

For more experts or resources, contact the ASA.


About the American Sociological Association

The American Sociological Association, founded in 1905, is a non‐profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.