17 November 2021

SODAS-Climate: Social data science towards a green transition

SODAS is launching a new research collaboration that will use techniques and methods from social data science to answer questions regarding the green transition.

SODAS-Climate responds to the major and on-going climatic changes and ecological challenges by using social science tools in new ways, building on advanced techniques for analyzing big and broad digital data. Doing so allows for original scientific developments as well as informing decisions on all levels of society. 

“Climate change is arguably the biggest and most complicated challenge of our time. The transition into a sustainable future requires social science knowledge from the local to the global level. Further, we need knowledge about the ideas and networks which connect these levels, and here social data science is key.”, says associate professor Anders Blok who is the chairman and initiator of SODAS-Climate.

SODAS-Climate will embed existing and emerging climate and green transition research hosted at SODAS and act as a platform for exploring novel joint research endeavors with other researchers in and beyond the University of Copenhagen (UCPH), as well as among societal stakeholders. SODAS-Climate collaborates closely with the existing Center for Sustainability and Society (SUSY) at UCPH’s Social Science Faculty. SODAS-Climate and SUSY will co-host seminars and other events aimed at academic and public sharing of knowledge.

“I am excited that SODAS is now taking on the climate challenge in an organized unit. Human behavior causes climate change, and therefore we need to understand human behavior to mitigate climate change. I believe that SODAS’ digital and interdisciplinary focus will contribute with many novel and important insights”, says SODAS-director Professor Morten Axel Pedersen

The research at SODAS-Climate will be interdisciplinary in its core. The interdisciplinary nature of the research will encompass several new possibilities for better understanding and explaining core social mechanisms that hinder or facilitate the green transition. The table below suggests an initial concept of how novel digital data formats can address key questions of networks, ideas, and behavior in the green transition, at scales ranging from the local to the transnational level.

Table: An initial sketch of the interdisciplinary field(s) covered by SODAS-Climate 


/ scale


Local (households, communities)

National (incl. cross-national comparison)

Transnational (EU, inter-city, global)

Networks (digital network data)

- community-based networks (e.g. spread of pro-climate ideas)

- practice-based networks (e.g. food collectives)

- triple helix partnerships (e.g. on agriculture)

- green civil society (e.g. NGO scenes)

- inter-city networks (e.g. C40)

- epistemic networks (e.g. IPCC)

- climate justice movement networks

Ideas (digital text + image data)

- everyday climate perceptions

- municipal climate plans and visions

- local climate experiments

- climate policy debates (frames, ideologies)

- socio-technical imaginaries (of low-carbon futures)

- North-South inequalities

- international climate image diplomacy

-  mitigation/adaptation frames (e.g. resilience)

Behaviours (digital trace / interaction data)

- adoption of low-carbon (consumption) practices

- climate-relevant mobility shifts

- local adaptation preparedness

- policy influences on pro-environmental/-climate behaviour

- impact of carbon taxation on market development


- international flight travel patterns

- impact of climatic variations on socially patterned perceptions and practices

 For inquiries about SODAS-Climate, please contact the chairperson, Assoc. Prof. Anders Blok, at abl@soc.ku.dk.