A new report examines what lessons can be learned from the Citizens’ Assembly to support public engagement with climate change. Published by the EPA, the report is co-authored by Laura Devaney, Diarmuid Torney, FuJo member Pat Brereton and Martha Coleman.
Ireland’s Citizens’ Assembly was an exceptional experiment in democratic governance and engagement. Comprising 99 citizens, it afforded participants the time, space and structure to deliberate on complex public policy questions, including climate change. The Citizens’ Climate research project aimed to inform policy by drawing lessons from this experience on how and when deliberation can be used to engage with citizens on the climate crisis.
The Citizens’ Climate research project was funded by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to draw lessons from the Citizens’ Assembly for deepening public engagement on the climate crisis. The researchers’ analysed the corpus of public submissions to the Citizens’ Assembly on the climate change topic; conducted two focus groups with members of the Citizens’ Assembly on climate change and other members of the public; and developed guidelines for conducting citizens’ assemblies and communicating climate change.
The authors note that “deliberative forums, including but not limited to citizens’ assemblies, can facilitate societal buy-in for tough policy decisions by including the concerns of citizens in policymaking and increasing the legitimacy of decisions and actions taken”