Launch of Largest Ever Global Citizen Consultation on Climate and Energy
On June 6, beginning at dawn in the Pacific Islands and ending at dusk in the West Coast of the United States, citizens around the world took part in the largest ever public consultation on climate change and energy. See the whole press release.
What is it?
World Wide Views on Climate and Energy (WWViews on Climate and Energy) is a global citizen consultation, providing unique information about how far citizens around the world are willing to go, in order to deal with climate change and to bring forward an energy transition.
On the same day, citizens selected to reflect the demographic diversity in their countries or regions (at least 100 per country or region) attended daylong meetings, starting at dawn in the Pacific, and continuing until dusk in the Americas. The ambition was to involve 10,000 citizens in 100 countries. All citizens received information about pros, cons and views on different climate and energy policies, targets and measures (both in advance and on that day) and all meetings followed the same agenda and guidelines in order to make the results comparable.
Citizens expressed their views on an identical set of questions, designed to reflect policy controversies at the COP negotiations and political discussions about climate and energy in general. The results were published in real-time via a web-tool, allowing for easy exploration and comparisons of results; one country with another, developed countries with developing, etc.
- Flyer with an overview of the initiative (English)
- Flyer with an overview of the initiative (French)
When did it take place?
The consultations took place on the same day, June 6 – 2015, six months prior to COP 21.
Who were the co-initiators?
The World Wide Views 2015 on Climate and Energy was co-initiated by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat, the French National Commission for Public Debate (FR), the Danish Board of Technology Foundation (DK) and Missions Publiques (FR), with the support of the French Government, COP21 host.
The project was coordinated by the Danish Board of Technology in collaboration with Missions Publiques and the French National Commission for Public Debate and implemented by existing and new partners in the World Wide Views Alliance
BIOFACTION produced the 5 info-videos for the entire event. See the videos HERE or below
Why was this initiative important?
Dealing successfully with climate change and energy transition requires public support. WWViews on Climate and Energy provided policymakers with in-depth and credible knowledge of the level of this support. It did so regarding key issues that are not easily addressed in opinion polls. It thus supplements polls such as Eurobarometer, by providing a credible snapshot of public opinions on some of the more complex issues, that policymakers need to address.
Due to the credibility of the results (citizens have been well informed and been given the opportunity to discuss their views with fellow citizens) they are an important asset to politicians wishing to point out to either domestic or foreign colleagues whether or not there is public support for the position, they are taking. The results revealed whether or not citizens wish to go further than their politicians in setting targets and implementing measures for dealing with climate change and promoting energy transition. This information could and should be used actively by politicians in the public debate, the media, and the COP21 negotiations.
Although the project was not a campaign, it did help raise public awareness about challenges and opportunities. It also set an example for how to increase the legitimacy and transparency of global governance, by offering ordinary citizens an opportunity for participating in the decision-making process.
The methodology is well developed and successfully used twice at the global level (WWViews on Global Warming in 2009 leading up to the climate COP15, and WWViews on Biodiversity in 2012, leading up to the biodiversity COP12). It has also been successfully used for the French national debate on energy transition.
Who supported it?
The initiative was supported by the former EU Commissioner Connie Hedegaard (read her letter of support here) and the Danish Minister of Climate, Energy and Building, Rasmus Helveg Petersen (read his letter of support here), the President of French National Assembly, COP21 organizers, GdF Suez.