From the public transport to the expansion of the grid, from electricity costs to jobs: across the Federal Republic, people have discussed the expansion of renewable energies and the mobility of the future. The new report shows what moves her and how Ariadne continues to work with these perspectives.
Citizen participation starts with focus groups and reaches to the big citizens’ summit
The energy transition affects all people in everyday life. This is a challenge for politicians, because in every decision there are also subliminal values and priorities on the issues. The results summarized in the new Ariadne report show in the extent to which these participants were discussed at the time of the electricity and traffic transition, as well as the problems and needs they have on the topics of the energy transition.
“People, for example, have been concerned with the question of who should feel responsible for achieving the climate target set and how burdens can be distributed socially fairly,” explains Arwen Colell, co-author of the report and policy analyst at the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC Berlin), which is part of the Ariadne consortium. “The discussions formulated very different goals, which concern the role of the state, but also the tension between individual responsibility and personal freedom.” Participants were expected to have a greater say in the selection of new technologies and burden-sharing, for example in the turnaround of electricity. On the other hand, when it comes to mobility, in their view, it seems that politics is more responsible for creating infrastructures, for example, to make the switch from cars to public transport more attractive.
Citizens make recommendations? Ariadne takes an inclusive approach
Unlike, for example, the Citizens’ Council on Germany’s role in the world or the French Climate Citizens’ Council, the views of citizens and scientific research on the energy transition are gradually brought together in the Copernicus project Ariadne. The Ariadne experts thus have a completely new approach in mind: continuously, insights into the values and objectives of citizens are to be integrated and analysed in research and modelling of scenarios, in order to give the policy decision-making level a 360-degree view of the effects of options and instruments.
It is important for the researchers to note that more than one solution can be effective and that areas of tension remain open. “Ariadne does not want to persuade anyone or convince anyone of a particular option, but rather to incorporate all perspectives of society into the development of feasible future paths,” explains Martin Kowarsch, group leader at the MCC Berlin and also author of the report as ariadne expert for citizen deliberation. “If our research project succeeds in taking people from different backgrounds seriously, deliberation processes can ultimately contribute to a factual, public-interest-oriented debate,” says Kowarsch.
Value maps help guide the paths of action
The results of the focus group work, which took place in videoconferences because of the Corona pandemic and were organized and evaluated together with colleagues of the strategy consultancy ifok, provide important and groundbreaking clues for the further scientific discussion. In various maps, people’s statements are sorted according to values, arguments and contexts in order to facilitate the development of possible climate protection instruments in the future on the basis of the resulting mapping of action paths.
The Ariadne report is only the beginning of the deliberation process, which will run through the entire project period. In addition to workshops and civic conferences, Ariadne is working as a highlight for a major citizens’ summit, at which, in about two years’ time, the findings of the project will be discussed by citizens in dialogue with politics, business and science.